Yahoo Inc., the global Internet company, and Sina Corporation, the Chinese portal, today announced they have signed a definitive agreement to establish a joint venture that will provide a new auctions-based ecommerce service for small- and medium-sized businesses and buyers and sellers in China.

The new service will combine Sina's leading brand and valuable audience in China with Yahoo's global brand strength and proven ecommerce expertise from its top-ranked auctions services in Japan, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. Through the joint venture, Yahoo and Sina will create a full-featured auctions-based ecommerce platform that will provide both a fixed-price and bid-price model for the sale of consumer goods, and also offer a range of services to facilitate transactions. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

During the last five years, China has witnessed significant growth in its Internet user population, and according to CNNIC, there were 78 million Chinese Internet users as of December 2003. The Yahoo and Sina joint venture supports the companies' respective strategies to further enable and support China's small- and medium-sized businesses in their efforts to reach a larger buying audience. The service will be co-branded, and is expected to be available to Chinese Internet sellers and buyers by mid-year 2004.

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