Alibaba competitor Wanda e-commerce raises $161M at $3B valuation: China-based Wanda E-commerce, which hopes to position itself as a rival against Alibaba, has raised one billion RMB (about $161 million) in funding from investment funds Centec Networks and Xude Rendao. Wanda E-commerce says this quadruples its valuation to 20 billion yuan (about $3 billion).
Wanda E-commerce was founded in August as a five billion RMB ($814 million) joint venture by mega-conglomerate Wanda and two of China's biggest Internet firms, Tencent and Baidu. Wanda's holdings in China include real estate, hotels, movie theaters, and shopping malls, but in the West the company is probably best known for acquiring AMC Theatres and Sunseeker International, a British yacht maker. (Tech Crunch)
Amazon's third-party merchants a growing piece of the sales pie: To help fuel its growth, Amazon.com is increasingly turning to the millions of businesses that use its site to sell their own goods.
That's a good thing for Amazon, because those third party sales tend to have higher margins, according to some analysts, and it's an inexpensive way to fill out its online catalog.
The Seattle company said Monday third-party merchants were responsible for 2 billion items sold last year, double the total in 2013, even as the number of such businesses held about steady compared with the prior period at "more than 2 million." (The Wall Street Journal)
Requests for Google to take down 'pirate' links soared to 345M in 2014: Google received a staggering 345 million requests in 2014 to remove links to content that violated copyright laws, an increase of 75 percent from the previous year, according to a report by TorrentFreak.
While Google doesn't tally the annual requests, the tech blog crunched the numbers on the weekly reports that Google posts on takedown requests. That data shows that copyright holders continued to get more aggressive last year in their battle to control the digital distribution of their content. (Venture Beat)