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Yahoo Inc., Japan's Softbank Corp. and Chinese Internet company Alibaba Group said late Tuesday that they remain in "constructive" talks and have made "encouraging progress" toward compensating the two Alibaba shareholders for the loss of Web payment service Alipay.

The companies said they will not comment further until "appropriate to do so."

Last month Yahoo jarred investors by informing them of an abrupt change affecting the value of its 43 percent stake in Alibaba, one of the leaders in China's rapidly growing Internet market. Alibaba had spun off Alipay in March into a separate company controlled by its CEO, Jack Ma, without giving Yahoo anything in return.

Launched in 2004, Alipay says it is China's biggest third-party online payment platform with more than 550 million registered users as of December. Yahoo has said the Alipay spin-off was necessary to ensure that Chinese regulators licensed the service, which wouldn't have happened if the company wasn't solely held by Chinese owners.

Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz has said all key shareholders, including Ma and Softbank, have committed to negotiating a fair payment for the Alipay spinoff and preserving the value of another Alibaba asset, online auction site Taobao.

At a technology conference earlier this month, Ma said settlement talks between Alibaba, Yahoo and Softbank were complicated but that he was optimistic they would reach a deal. He denied accusations that he had essentially stolen the asset for his own benefit. But he has suggested that he would prefer to boost Chinese ownership of the company, especially since he disagrees with major shareholders on its direction.

Alibaba Group operates Yahoo's China arm, China Yahoo! It also includes Alibaba.com, a major business-to-business e-commerce service, the retail site Taobao and Alibaba Cloud Computing, a developer of computing services.

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