Alibaba has acquired a 35% stake in Intime Retail, an offline retail company with presence throughout China, for USD 692 million, reports TechCrunch. The joint venture aims at analyzing offline to online (O2O) retail opportunities, in order to “provide a more convenient shopping experience.”
As a part of the JV, Alibaba’s online mall, Tmall will be having access to Intime’s inventory of offline products. The deal will help Alibaba grow its presence at Intime’s more than two dozen department stores across China.
“We see significant opportunities to extend our ecommerce platform to physical retail, developing a more engaging, omnichannel and digitally-connected shopping experience,” said Daniel Zhang, COO of Alibaba Group.
As mentioned by WSJ, the move came in line with growing competition between Tencent, Baidu and Alibaba. As all three seeks to capitalize on opportunities offered due to increased usage of smartphone, thereby increasing their own user base. Thus, paving way for more consolidations to get better access to technology and services in order to lure consumers to their platforms.
Alibaba currently operates in China’s eCommerce market with its two major sites viz. Tmall and Taobao. Other recent investments of Alibaba included an undisclosed amount in Sina Corp’s Weibo (18% stake) and USD 800 million in ChinaVision Media Group. (60% stake).
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