SMG and Alibaba: SoftBank strengthens ties with major Chinese web players

SoftBank seems to be pretty bullish about the growing Chinese web market, which is no wonder as there are about 300 million web users in that country (China has the biggest Internet population in the world).
The Japanese technology behemoth formed two strategic alliances with high-profile Chinese partners in the last few days.

Alliance with Shanghai Media Group

Yesterday, Softbank announced a cooperation with media conglomerate Shanghai Media Group [CN] (SMG) under which they will provide the Chinese side with digital content (games, movies, anime, TV shows etc.), marketing support and copyright management consulting.
SMG, on the other hand, is supposed to teach SoftBank how web business is done in China. The Chinese company has over 5,000 employees and controls dozens of TV and radio stations, newspapers and various web services.

Alliance with Alibaba/Taobao

But that wasn’t all for SoftBank aspirations in China yesterday. The company also shook hands with the Alibaba group, the operator of the famous e-commerce platform of the same name. Alibaba is a B2B market place, but they also run Taobao, China’s biggest shopping portal (120 million registered users).
Here is Taobao’s top page:
Now SoftBank and Alibaba plan to to make it easier for Japanese businesses to sell their products on Taobao. After an order is placed, Alibaba takes care of exchanging yuan to yen and then transfer those yen to Japan once shipping is completed. SoftBank not only handles the payment in Japan but also offers support in Japanese to companies having to deal with product inquiries or customer complaints.
This potentially sounds like good news for SoftBank (and Alibaba). Incredible but true: Google Trends says China-only Taobao is even bigger than traffic-wise.

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