Alibaba to invest $194 million in Chinese financial media firm

The alliance aims to help Alibaba expand into financial information services by taking advantage of the Chinese e-commerce giant's rich resources in customer data and cloud computing technology.

Alibaba Group is paying 1.2 billion yuan ($194 million) for an undisclosed stake in China Business News (CBN), a well-known domestic financial media firm that produces both TV programs and newspapers in the country, according to a Sina news report on Thursday.

In a statement released by Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce giant said that the deal with CBN aims to set up a financial data and information platform to provide services for the fast-expanding investment market in China.

Calling itself "the world's largest commercial data companies", according to Sina news, Alibaba has been building up a mega pool of customer data and information through its various businesses, including e-commerce, finance, logistics, health, and culture.

Local reports said the real-name users of Alipay -- Alibaba's e-payment arm that handles a majority of online payments in the country -- had reached 300 million by the end of 2013, with over 12.5 billion payments had been made by Alipay that year.

Alibaba's Yu'E Bao, the world's fourth-biggest money fund, had 185 million participants by the end of 2014. The size of assets managed under the fund has reached 711.7 billion yuan as of March 31.

Under today's deal, CBN will start providing stock market information to Alipay users, and the mobile users of Alibaba's online market place Taobao will also be able to access to CBN's wealth-management information service.

Alibaba began its entry into the information-providing services by targeting small and mid-sized enterprises, as well as investors and financial decision makers in China, according to the statement.

Local media said the deal shows Alibaba's ambition to develop a Chinese version of Bloomberg in the country.

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