E-commerce giant Alibaba Group announced on Sunday that it will acquire 15 percent stake in Beijing Easyhome Furnishing Chain Store Group in a deal worth 5.45 billion yuan (US$866 million).
The investment in Easyhome, China’s second-largest home-improvement supplies and furniture chain, underscores Alibaba’s retail strategy that aims to leverage offline and online activities, Reuters reports, citing a company statement.
Easyhome, which started operations in 1999, reported more than 60 billion yuan in sales last year.
Alibaba has been making sizable investments in the country’s retail sector since 2015, when it took a 20 percent stake in local electronics retailer Suning.com for US$4.6 billion, Reuters noted.
In November last year, Alibaba agreed to take a US$2.9 billion stake in China’s top hypermarket operator, Sun Art Retail Group.
“Physical stores serve an indispensable role during the consumer journey, and should be enhanced through data-driven technology and personalized services in the digital economy,” Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang said at the time.
Last year, Alibaba also led the US$2.6 billion privatization of Intime Retail Group as part of a move into bricks and mortar activities.
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