With the mainland's export growth forecast to slow next year, e-commerce giant Alibaba.com is gearing up for more acquisitions, continued investments in key markets and a sharper focus on value-added services to support its smaller business subscribers. Hangzhou-based Alibaba.com, the world's largest business-to-business e-commerce services provider, unveiled the strategy yesterday after reporting strong third-quarter gains, with a new milestone of more than one million paying members out of 56.72 million registered users. Its third-quarter net profit increased 55.1 per cent to 366.1 million yuan (HK$427.06 million), up from 236 million yuan a year earlier, due largely to greater revenue from its paying customers and higher uptake of value-added services, which include a wholesale transaction platform, verification, website-development software and keyword listing. Revenue grew 40.4 per cent to 1.45 billion yuan from 1.03 billion yuan the previous year. David Wei Zhe, chief executive of the company, said the firm had cleaned up its trading environment by terminating about 1,200 premium-paying 'Gold Supplier' members who had either committed fraud or were potential fraudsters. Alibaba.com, which operates in more than 240 markets, connects small and medium-sized firms that have little or no marketing budgets with buyers on vast trading websites, including an English-language portal for global traders and a Chinese-language site for mainland suppliers and buyers. It takes cash up front from members through annual fees, which are set to rise for 'China Gold Suppliers' from January 1. Total deferred revenue and customer advances last quarter increased 30.3 per cent to 3.87 billion yuan from 2.97 billion yuan a year earlier. A JP Morgan report said higher fees would 'cause a slowdown in net additions of new members over the next few quarters'. But Wei said Alibaba.com was keen on boosting customer support amid forecast lower mainland export growth rates. Wei said new acquisitions will be announced in the next few weeks as part of the evolution to a 'Work at Alibaba' business model, which aims to offer more tools and services to take care of members' online trading needs. Four acquisitions were made last year. Investments will also continue on the mainland, in India, Japan and the United States, where small enterprises are putting more of their business processes online, Wei said.