China e-commerce giant Alibaba invests in travel site

"Strategic investment" will complement Alibaba's own travel platform Taobao Travel, says the company, adding another deal to a string of investments amid talk about an anticipated IPO.

Alibaba says it has invested in travel website Qyer, adding the deal to several others the Chinese e-commerce giant has made in the lead up to its anticipated public offering. 

According to a statement released to AFP, company spokesperson Florence Shih said Alibaba made a "strategic investment" in Qyer, which will complement its own travel platform, Taobao Travel. 

Financial details in the deal were not disclosed. Established in 2008, Qyer allows users to exchange information and make travel bookings. 

Alibaba in May said it would pay US$294 million to acquire a 28 percent stake in Chinese digital map provider , AutoNavi. This followed its announcement in April to buy an 18 percent stake in China's largest microblogging site, Sina Weibo , for US$586 million.

The company's investment spree takes place amid an anticipated initial public offering  (IPO), which analysts estimate could put Alibaba's value at between US$60 billion and US$100 billion, the AFP report noted. 

Alibaba, which owns China's most popular e-commerce site Taobao, in May agreed to an US$8 billion loan from nine banks  to refinance existing debts and raise additional funds, further fueling talk about an impending IPO. 


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