If the deal goes ahead, Alibaba founder Jack Ma would become the latest Internet tycoon to step in to take over a traditional newspaper.
Amazon's Jeff Bezos bought the Washington Post in 2013, while Chris Hughes, a co-founder of Facebook, bought a majority stake in the New Republic magazine in 2012.
Alibaba declined to comment on the report when approached by AFP.
The SCMP, founded in 1903 and the city's main English-language paper, was once the world's most profitable newspaper on a per reader basis.
But it has seen an increasing number of readers moving online.
The paper has been controlled since 1993 by Malaysian billionaire Robert Kuok, who acquired it from Rupert Murdoch.
The SCMP group also has interests in contract printing, magazines and other businesses.
Alibaba last year launched a record initial public offering in New York, but has been dogged by concerns about slower growth in China and a sluggish pace of international
Earlier this month it announced an estimated USD 4.8 billion deal to take over China's video streaming service Youku Tudou as it seeks to spread its online empire.
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