Alibaba Readies $2.9B Investment In Chinese Grocer Sun Art

Alibaba buys 36.2 per cent stake in Wal-Mart style hypermarket chain for US$2.9 billion

XAutoplay: On | OffSun Art Retail operates 446 "hypermarket complexes" in 224 cities across 29 provinces, regions and municipalities in China, under the RT-Mart and Auchan banners.

"Alibaba is excited to join with our new partners to redefine traditional retail through digital transformation", CEO Daniel Zhang said in a statement.

The deal for Whole Foods marked a big point for entry by Amazon into the physical brick and mortar retail, but the move by Alibaba into offline started several years ago and this in the biggest part of the strategy.

After the deal Alibaba and the French retailer Auchan will hold 36.18 per cent and 36.16 per cent of Sun Art respectively and Ruentex will have 4.67 per cent.

Wilhelm Hubner, chief executive of Auchan Retail, said the alliance will allow them to serve a "fully integrated" in-store and online shopping experience to hundreds of millions of Chinese consumers. Notably, offline retail now constitutes 85% of total retail sales in China despite the enormous growth of e-commerce over the last few years.

But, while Amazon has been tight lipped about the extent to which it's Amazon Go shopping centers will integrate into the Amazon e-commerce ecosystem, and what role they play in the context of Whole Foods, Alibaba is promoting its Hema outlets as fulfillment centers for online orders. The Chinese e-commerce giant said that the partnership will speed up its efforts to merge online and offline shopping into an "omnichannel" consumer experience, leveraging its own assets, ecosystem and technology.

Moody's ratings and Modi's expectations are finally on the same page
Tyagi also said the rating upgrade to Baa2 would further boost investments including foreign inflows. All these steps which constituted major reforms are directional in nature.

Alibaba is now the world's largest e-commerce company.

Shares of Hong Kong-listed Sun Art, which were suspended on November 13, resumed on Monday and were down 5.3 percent in morning trade, while the benchmark index .HSI was flat.

Sun Art is China's hypermarket store leader with about 8.2 percent of the market, the data from Kantar Worldpanel showed.

Alibaba acquired a stake of 35% of InTime the department store operator in 2014, and took a 20% share of Suning the retail giant in 2015 for $4.6 billion but in 2017 is when it picked up pace. As they may be considered "acting in concert", the group may be required to make an offer for the remainder of Sun Art shares, the listed company said in its filing.

In January, Alibaba bought the remainder of InTime and took the business private, while during May it bought a share of Lianhua the supermarket brand.

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