Alibaba buys 18% stake in Sina's Weibo
Internet giant Alibaba has bought an 18 percent stake in Twitter-like Weibo.

The Chinese e-commerce firm is looking to tap into the fast-growing social media sector and the deal will give merchants on Alibaba the opportunity to connect and build relationships with Weibo users.

Alibaba will pay Sina $586 million for the stake.

The deal is expected to generate US$380 million in advertising and social commerce services revenues for Weibo over the next three years, Sina said in a statement .

Weibo has more than 500 million users.

"We believe e-commerce will play a vital role in building an eco-system around Weibo's open platform," said Charles Chao, Chairman and CEO of Sina. "Weibo and Alibaba's e-commerce platforms are natural partners. Together we provide a unique proposition not only to existing online merchants, but also to individuals or businesses, who wish to offer products and services on social networking platform to take advantage of the traffic shift toward social and mobile Internet."

"We believe that this strategic alliance helps to create a stronger Weibo," said Jack Ma, chairman of Alibaba.

According to the two firms, the partnership will bring in $380 million more in advertising and social commerce services revenue for Weibo over the next three years.

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