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Alibaba Chairman Jack Ma
Alibaba Chairman Jack Ma

E-commerce titans Amazon.com and Alibaba appear to be on a collision course of sorts. And now here’s one very interesting aspect of the brewing battle.

Forbes reports that Alibaba recently invested in Jet.com, the high-profile and heavily-funded e-commerce startup created by former Quidsi CEO Marc Lore.

Citing multiple unnamed sources, Forbes reports that Alibaba participated in the $140 million financing round that Jet raised in February, a funding partner that was not previously announced. Re/code also is reporting on the news, noting that it is the first public investment Alibaba has made in a U.S. competitor of Amazon.com.

Other backers of Jet.com, which has yet to launch its online marketplace, include Bain Capital Ventures, Accel Partners and New Enterprise Associates.

There’s no love lost between Jet.com’s Lore and Amazon, with technology journalist Brad Stone uncovering some of the heavy-handed tactics that Amazon utilized to take over Quidsi (operator of Diapers.com).

jet-logo11Earlier this year, Lore said he intended to compete on pricing with Amazon.com, offering a $50 a year membership that’s similar to Costco.

“When we show you a product, it’s not because we are making money on it and not because we are closing out a line. It’s because we think it’s a good deal,” Lore told BusinessWeek.

Interestingly, in an interview with Bloomberg news last fall, Alibaba CEO Jack Ma said he would consider a partnership with Amazon.

“I would be interested in talking because as always anything, anybody that involving helping small business we will feel excited,” said Ma, a former English teacher who founded the Chinese e-commerce giant in 1999.

Alibaba, which went public last fall, raising $21.8 billion, is now valued at $211 billion. Amazon, by comparison, is valued at $199 billion.

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