Alibaba Group, through a subsidiary, has purchased 18 percent of Weibo, a Chinese micro-blogging website similar to Twitter, for $586 million.

Alibaba has the option to increase its ownership to 30 percent. The deal comes just as Alibaba, through subsidiaries Taobao (China) Software Co. Ltd. and Zhejiang Technology Co. Ltd., agreed to work with Sina, Weibo's owner, to develop a social commerce marketing plan that would let Alibaba’s online merchants access Weibo users.

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