Sourcing website Alibaba.com has entered into an agreement to acquire Auctiva, a leading third-party developer of tools for eBay sellers.

With more than 170,000 active users, Auctiva provides listing, marketing and management tools for small businesses to sell on sites like eBay.

Alibaba said it wants to build the world's first global e-commerce supply chain through the acquisitions. The acquisition of Auctiva, as well as Alibaba.com’s purchase of Vendio in June, will bring more than 250,000 new customers to Alibaba, and expands its US operations, the company said.

The online merchants who use both Auctiva and Vendio will have direct access to almost 1.5m supplier storefronts on Alibaba’s sourcing platform and AliExpress, its wholesale transaction platform.

"Small online retailers are just starting to see how they can use international sourcing to their advantage, and we have seen the significant opportunity through customer reaction to our initial integration with Vendio," said David Wei, chief executive officer of Alibaba.com. "Many small business owners never even thought that they would be able to source their products from overseas, as they didn’t have the staff or technological resources to do so. We are bringing both sides of the equation together to make international sourcing as easy as possible for any business."

The acquisition closed on August 18, 2010 and is part of the US$100m investment plan for AliExpress that Alibaba announced in April 2010.