By John Ruwitch
BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba Group Holding Ltd is investing more than $100 million in Mei.com, a "flash sales" platform for luxury and fashion goods, according to a source with knowledge of the deal.
Alibaba had said earlier on Wednesday it would form a team within its Tmall business-to-consumer platform to help Mei.com expand its user base, product offerings, logistics and IT infrastructure, but did not disclose the size of its investment.
"Alibaba will help Mei.com and other brand partners enter our ecosystem to allow more efficiency in helping them locate consumer groups, conduct brand marketing and establish an online supply chain system," Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang said.
The investment could help Alibaba expand its luxury goods offerings in China and burnish its reputation with foreign brands, especially luxury makers, with whom there can still be friction over intellectual property-infringing products on the Chinese group's shopping sites.
Its e-commerce platform has for many years had a reputation for advertising counterfeit products, but in 2012 Alibaba's eBay-like Taobao website was removed from the U.S. government's Notorious Markets list.
Since then, the Chinese company's efforts to scrub up have included various tie-ups with brands and anti-counterfeit groups, albeit with a mixed reception.
Mei.com cooperates with more than 2,400 brands, including around 280 labels such as Armani, Zegna and Longchamp, Alibaba's statement said.
(Reporting by John Ruwitch; Additional reporting by Paul Carsten; Editing by Kazunori Takada and David Holmes)