Press Releases 2008

SOFTBANK and Create Joint Venture in Japan Japan to open up new global trade channels for the world’s second largest economy

May 15, 2008 Limited (“”) and SOFTBANK CORP. (“SOFTBANK”) today announced formation of a joint venture company called Japan. The new company will take over the operation of’s existing Japanese-language website which connects small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Japan with buyers and suppliers around the world. is the world’s leading business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce company. Founded in 1999 in Hangzhou, China, it has built a global community of close to 30 million members from over 240 countries and regions. Its efficient, trusted platform allows buyers and sellers of everything from shoes to electronics to find trading partners faster than ever before.

“SOFTBANK has been a strategic investor in the Alibaba Group for many years, and this agreement is a natural extension of our strong relationship,” said Jack Ma, Chairman. “ Japan will provide Japanese businesses with the most comprehensive database of suppliers available online today from China and around the world. It will combine the strength of’s global community with SOFTBANK’s established brand, marketing power and sales and customer service network in Japan.”

“It will be a great pleasure to launch this joint venture business with, the largest B2B e-commerce company in China,” said Masayoshi Son, SOFTBANK CEO. “We expect that Japan will create new business opportunities and stimulate big changes in the Japanese market.”

Japan has more than 4 million SMEs, which account for 25% of the country’s export value and 63% of its import value. Since 2006, China has surpassed the US to become Japan’s largest trading partner. Japan will promote trade between China and Japan, as well as help Japanese businesses open up new trade channels worldwide. Japan is the first B2B online marketplace for global trade that localizes language and content for a Japanese audience. Initially, Japan will focus on cross-border trade for imports from China and around the world into Japan. Later, it will expand its focus to exports from Japan and domestic B2B trade in Japan as well.

With more than 1 million product listings and over 75,000 members, Japan is already a significant gateway to trade with Japan. soft-launched its upgraded Japanese website in December 2007 and since then it has seen a substantial increase in the number of users from Japan. With the launch of the joint venture, Japan will continue to localize its content and upgrade its services to improve the user experience for Japanese SMEs.

Profile of the joint venture company

Name Japan
Capital Japanese yen equivalent of US$20 million
Capital structure
  • SOFTBANK 65%
  • 35%
Leadership: CEO Makoto Kouyama
COO Sun Jiong
Director Satoshi Okada
Director Masayoshi Son(SOFTBANK CORP. CEO)
Director David Wei( Limited CEO)

About Limited (HKSE:1688), a member of the Alibaba Group of companies, is the world’s leading B2B e-commerce company. In addition to Japan, runs an English-language marketplace focusing on global importers and exporters and a Chinese-language marketplace focusing on suppliers and buyers trading domestically in China. Together, its marketplaces form a community of around 30 million registered users from over 240 countries and regions.


SOFTBANK GROUP offers its customers a range of services including mobile communications, broadband infrastructure, fixed-line telecommunications, internet culture, e-Commerce, and others. For more information, please visit here.

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