In yet another bold move, the Chinese e-commerce conglomerate, Alibaba, invested $2.88 billion to buy 36.16% stake in Sun Art Retail which is a major offline retailer in China.
In what can be seen as its latest strategic move, Alibaba puts into practice its new approach to retail marketing. According to the company, the group aims at merging both online and offline shopping and its latest stake in Sun Art Retail is a step towards that direction.
Alibaba is currently the world’s largest e-commerce company. Its e-commerce platforms cater to consumers worldwide, although the majority of its transactions are generated in China. According to the site’s statistics, a jaw-dropping $485 billion worth of stuff was scooped up by over 420 million people during last fiscal year.
With 20 Hema supermarkets already rolled out in China, the group continues to make one after another strategic alliance, first with China’s biggest supermarket operator Billian Group and later, with a stake in Lianhua Supermarket, which happens to be Billian Group’s largest chain of Supermarkets.
The Sun Art Group is a major offline retail player in China. It operates in 29 zones across the country, manoeuvring 446 hypermarkets. Currently, there are three groups with stakes in Sun Art Retail, Alibaba with 36.16%, Auchan Retail with 36.18% and Ruentex group with 4.67%.
Interestingly, Alibaba has a strategic partnership with Auchan Retail which makes the alliance with the majority stakeholder of Sun Art Retail. Sun Art is known for its innovative ideas; under its brand ‘Auchan Minute”, the group operates unmanned retail stores in China. The latest deal will provide Sun Art with an access to Alibaba’s digital ecosystem.
Sun Art Retail Group Ltd. was going through a lean patch, its sales went down as Chinese shoppers prefer to go online to buy high-end products.
According to the Chief Executive Officer of Alibaba, Daniel Zhang, the alliance aims to revolutionize retail marketing by integrating traditional retail practice with e-commerce. The objective behind this move is to provide customers with the best of both worlds.