Alibaba pumps billions more dollars into China's brick-and-mortar market
Nov 21, 2017, 01:00
"Physical stores serve an indispensable role during the consumer journey, and should be enhanced by data-driven technology and personalized services in the digital economy", Daniel Zhang, chief executive of Alibaba Group, said in a joint statement by the three companies.
Shares of Sun Art Retail were 0.9% lower at HK$8.52 in late-morning trading in Hong Kong on Monday as trading resumed after being suspended on November 13, pending the announcement.
Integrating brick-and-mortar outlets into e-commerce strategies has been happening since companies started selling online, with most retailers from small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to the likes of Walmart leveraging their stores as shipping centers.
Alibaba purchased a 35 percent portion of department store operator In Time in 2014 and then devoured up 20 percent of retail behemoth sunning for $4.6 billion in 2015, but it foot the pedal on the gas in 2017.
As part of an alliance with French retailer Auchan Retail and Taiwan's Ruentex Group, Alibaba will buy Sun Art Retail stake from Ruentex. Taobao will form an alliance with Auchan Retail S.A. and Reuntex Group. Wal-Mart and JD.com are doing the same, marrying online commerce with data and combining their network of warehouses and cold storage for same-day delivery to customers. Like in America, the Chinese supermarket space is ultra competitive and plagued by low margins - not to mention the constant threat of e-commerce taking more and more market share away.
The firm said that their online and offline expertise are exploring new opportunities in China'sfood retail sector.
It's early days in Alibaba's grand experiment, but if it works, it could deepen a lead over Bezos' Amazon in the fragmented world of physical retail.
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