Founded in 1995, eBay was one of the most prominent dotcom success stories, managing to translate revenue into profits, and the auction and shopping website now has operations in moer than 30 countries.

Alibaba executive chairman Jack Ma controls Alipay.

PayPal looks ripe to be Jack Ma's next target

As eBay spins off its online payments subsidiary PayPal, Alibaba chairman Jack Ma Yun is presented with an opportunity for just the kind of blockbuster deal that China's richest man is fond of doing.