Alibaba announced investing US$ 157 million (RMB 1 billion) into Taobao portfolio Etao.com, a price comparison service with affiliate programs which was spun off in this June in an aim to help promoting 3rd party ecommerce sites by increasing both their exposure and traffic.

Founded by Taobao in last October, Etao.com has aggregated more than 1 billion items from over 5,000 Chinese ecommerce sites ranging from general stores such as Taobao.com, Joyo.com and vertical ones and 600 China daily deal sites.

Wu yongming, president of Etao said that the company which curates a mission of “Being Open” wants to foster the growth of China’s ecommerce companies.

However, some big guys just don’t buy it. 360buy.com, Dangdang.com and Suning.com (Chinese electronics-chain Suning’s online store which just stepped into book business) claimed that Etao just scrapping stuff from theirs websites and would block Etao’s search spider.

Besides “Cloud”, “Open” is one of the words Chinese internet companies like best and everyone self-promotes or cross-promotes as an open company with open infrastructure. Sina is opening its weibo service. Tencent is opening everything with grand open strategy – they even threw up a ‘party’ PR this. Shanda is also opening. It seems if you’re not opening up you’re decades behind our peers.

And how far can they go on their open road? Some 3rd party developers have already complained over unfair bans by Sina Weibo open platform which is supposed to open its API to these developers and approve their apps.