Alibaba.com, the world's largest business-to-business e-commerce services provider, has completed an acquisition of online software tools developer Auctiva, its second takeover in the United States this year. The acquisition is part of a US$100 million investment plan Alibaba announced in April and follows its purchase of e-commerce software firm Vendio Services in June. Auctiva is the leading third-party developer of listing, marketing and management software tools used by small online merchants to sell goods and services on giant auction and shopping website eBay. The combination of Auctiva and Vendio adds more than 250,000 new customers to Alibaba.com and significantly expands its operations in the US, its biggest market outside China. 'This should create more synergy among buyers and sellers within the Alibaba.com platform,' a report from JP Morgan Securities in Hong Kong said yesterday. Hangzhou-based Alibaba.com, which had 53.44 million registered users in more than 240 markets as of June, connects small- and medium-sized enterprises that have little or no marketing budgets with international and domestic buyers on three online trading websites. The firm, in which billionaire financier George Soros is the third-largest shareholder, also offers dozens of value-added services, including a small loans programme, business management and website development software, virtual showrooms and a wholesale transaction platform called AliExpress that caters to overseas buyers. Similar to its Vendio acquisition, Auctiva will help Alibaba.com users trade on international platforms such as eBay, Amazon.com and AliExpress. It will also encourage merchants, such as those categorised as 'power sellers' on eBay, to do more sourcing of products from Alibaba.com and AliExpress, according to the JP Morgan report. Alibaba.com chief executive David Wei Zhe said: 'Small online retailers are just starting to see how they can use international sourcing to their advantage and we have seen the significant opportunity through customer reaction to our initial integration with Vendio.' Online merchants with Auctiva and Vendio will have direct access to almost 1.5 million supplier store fronts on Alibaba.com and AliExpress, which was launched in April. This connection represents significant potential cost savings to users. 'I spend a lot of time online looking for products I can sell,' said Don Pinard, owner of www.peggsbargains.net , an Auctiva and AliExpress customer. 'I used to use liquidation sites, but AliExpress is more reliable. If I can trim the cost of purchasing items by just 7 per cent that will cover all store fees and shipping costs, which will really increase my profit.' AliExpress will be integrated within the Auctiva platform, allowing the US firm's more than 170,000 active users to connect to AliExpress. Auctiva will operate as a new business unit within Alibaba.com, and retain its own brand name and operations. Wei said Alibaba.com, part of internet conglomerate Alibaba Group, was keen on more acquisitions to support its AliExpress service.