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Alibaba agrees to handle payments and shipping to China for US stores Saks, Macy’s, and others (Reuters)

By Edwin Chan , Paul Carsten and John Ruwitch SAN FRANCISCO/BEIJING/SHANGHAI Fri Jan 16, 2015 3:31am EST The logo of Alibaba Group is seen inside the company's headquarters in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province early November 11, 2014. Credit: Reuters/Aly Song SAN FRANCISCO/BEIJING/SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China's Alibaba Group Holding Ltd ( BABA.N ) plans a major move to win U.S. business this year, by offering American retailers new ways to sell to China's vast and growing middle class. Anchored by Alipay, the dominant Chinese electronic payments system that works closely with Alibaba and is controlled by its executives, the world's largest Internet retailer is using the calling card of China's consumers to attract U.S. partners, two sources close to the company told Reuters. Long seen as the most potent threat to Amazon.com Inc ( AMZN.O ) with $300 billion in global sales, the moves add up to a conservative approach to expanding in the United States, contrary to industry speculation that the company may be plotting a direct assault on U.S. soil. That considered strategy, outlined to Reuters for the first time by the sources and executives who work directly with the Chinese company, is intended to heighten awareness in the United States of what Alibaba does, gain goodwill in an important Western market, and lay the groundwork for a longer-term play. At the heart of its push are Alibaba's and Alipay's trial deals to handle Chinese sales, payment and shipping for some of the biggest names in U.S. retail from Neiman Marcus Group NMRCUS.UL to Saks Inc. Both confirmed the agreement but would not talk about how the pilots are faring. The Chinese companies will also work with U.S. startup Shoprunner, an online mall for U.S.

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China to create $6.5 billion venture capital fund to support start-ups (Reuters)

SHANGHAI Wed Jan 14, 2015 9:35pm EST SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China will set up a government venture capital fund worth 40 billion yuan ($6.5 billion) to support start-ups in emerging industries, in its latest move to support the private sector and foster innovation. "The establishment of the state venture capital investment guidance fund, with the focus to support fledging start-ups in emerging industries, is a significant step for the combination of technology and the market, innovations and manufacturing," China's State Council, the cabinet, said in a statement. "It will also help breed and foster sunrise industries for the future and promote (China's) economy to evolve towards the medium and high ends," it said in the statement published in the government's website, www.gov.cn, referring to sectors which the government is promoting such as technology and green energy. The government issued the statement after a meeting on Wednesday. It did not give a timetable, but past experience has shown that such a fund could be established within a few weeks after an announcement. China's venture capital market remains small, the legacy of the country's decades of the planned economy in which private sector's development is largely subject to a great variety of restrictions. In the first half of 2014, 83 new funds were set up in China's venture capital market, with fresh capital eligible for investment in the mainland surging 157 percent from a year earlier, but remaining at a moderate $6.76 billion, according to a research by Zero21PO Capital, a service provider and investment institution in China’s private equity industry. During the period, 517 investment cases occurred in the market, with details of 440 made public on a combined investment capital of $5.3 billion, the research showed. Still, the government is increasingly supporting the expansion of the industry since two years ago when mapped out a strategy to let market forces to eventually play a "decisive" role in China's economy. Last month, for instance, regulators issued new rules to allow insurance companies to invest their huge pool of premiums in venture capital funds for the first time. The cabinet said in Wednesday's statement that the planned fund would be funded by the government's existing capital designated for expansion of emerging industries and by state corporates, while also inviting private partners to participate in. The fund will render public tenders to invite high processional asset managements to operate, with returns giving priority to private investors, it said. ($1=6.2 Yuan) (Reporting by Lu Jianxin and Pete Sweeney ; Editing by Kim Coghill) Link this Share this Digg this Email Print Reprints

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