China, 8th February: Earlier this month, Alibaba Group, China’s leading e-commerce group, announced two deals to invest in the retail sector.
Alibaba plans to invest RMB 5.45 billion (US$863 million) in Beijing Easyhome Furnishing Chain Store Group Company in exchange for a 15% stake. Founded in 1999, Easyhome is the second largest home improvement supplies and furniture chain operator in China. The company has a total of 223 stores across China and recorded revenues of over RMB 60 billion (US$379 million) in 2017. The investment will allow Alibaba to strengthen its offline resources and will enable Easyhome to tap into Alibaba’s e-commerce platform.
The second announced deal involves Alibaba buying a 38% stake in Shiji Retail Information Technology Co for US$486 million, through its subsidiary, Alibaba Investment Limited. Shiji is a domestic big-data firm focused on the hotel and retail sector in China. In 2014, Taobao (China) Software Company, another Alibaba subsidiary, acquired a 15% stake in Shiji for RMB 2.81 billion (US$445 million) to help bolster its online travel business.