sees US,India,Japan as key markets sees US,India,Japan as key markets

Hangzhou, China: China’s largest e-commerce company,, views the United States, Japan and India as its three key overseas markets for global expansion, its chief executive said on Friday. is the listed unit of Alibaba Group, in which US search engine Yahoo Inc owns a 40% stake. The firm runs an online platform that connects thousands of sellers in China with buyers overseas.

“Those are the three countries outside China that are critical to’s success," David Wei told Reuters in an interview in Hangzhou, where the company is based.

Wei said that was targeting those three countries because all three are important to the company’s core base of sellers in China. currently has about 2 million users in the United States and 1.5 million users in India.

“Investment in the countries is to further improve our presence in China," Wei said. “If we have to make an investment ... there is no limit on the investment. If we need a big investment, we can always finance it."

Last month, reported its strongest quarterly profit in two years. The firm had $1.15 billion in cash and bank balances.

To grow in those markets Alibaba would use partnerships, acquisitions and organic growth, Wei said.

Last month, made its second US acquisition this year buying Auctiva, a site that provides listing and marketing tools. The firm had bought e-commerce platform Vendio earlier in the year. said last month it was keen on more acquisitions to add technology or already proven commercial applications to the firm’s lineup and had more deals in the pipeline.

To tap into India, the company is preparing to invest in opening a customer service center that could eventually have up to 100 workers to serve’s paying sellers there, now numbering around 5,000.

Web commerce in China has surged as buyers tap the Internet for better deals from more suppliers in the nation’s highly fragmented distribution networks. competes with Global Sources Ltd in China’s 1.6 billion yuan business-to-business (B2B) online marketplace industry. In the first quarter, had 74% of the market by transaction value.