Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group said today that it will invest 1.8 billion yuan to help small- and medium-size merchants to grow their business, in an effort to put an end to the online protest that has disrupted Taobao Mall over the past week. Alibaba held a press conference today announcing the new investment, which includes service fee reductions and a loan guarantee for its vendors. Taobao Mall also announced today that it has postponed by nine months its plans to implement new contract terms for existing vendors.