China's virtual landscape

Forget Facebook and Twitter and take a look at five companies shaping China's Internet culture.

Alibaba

us china internet taobao
Alibaba operates multiple online shopping sites, including Taobao.com.

If a Silicon Valley venture capital fund, a community bank, Amazon (AMZN) and eBay (EBAY) got together, you'd end up with something like Alibaba.

Alibaba operates several popular online marketplaces, including Taobao.com, the 12th most popular site on the web. On China's version of Cyber Monday, the company's sites brought in over $16 million in sales in the first minute. It also operates an online payment system, much like PayPal, and a mobile payment system similar to Google Wallet.

The Hangzhou-based company has begun branching out. Alibaba recently started a U.S. investment arm, providing capital to tech entrepreneurs. In China, it's lending to small businesses, and rewarding its best marketplace sellers with favorable loans.

Alibaba, which has Yahoo as a major shareholder, is preparing to go public. Analysts say the company could be worth as much as $85 billion.

- Last updated November 26 2013 03:52 AM ET
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