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Alibaba Group merges online auction, ad units
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China's largest e-commerce company, the Alibaba Group, said on Thursday it was combining the operations of two of its major units.

The combination of Taobao, an auction site, and Alimama, an online ad service, will attract more merchants and give consumers more choice, the group said in a statement.

Alimama's 3 billion daily page views will provide the most accurate and efficient network to promote services to Taobao sellers, it said.

Taobao was launched in 2003 and has 80 million registered users and a daily turnover of more than 300 million yuan ($44 million). Alimama, founded in 2007, is the largest online ad platform in China.

Both Alimama and Taobao offer free services.

(Xinhua News Agency September 5, 2008)

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