Alibaba goes offline with stake in brick-and-mortar retailer

Alibaba goes offline with stake in brick-and-mortar retailer

Daniel Zhang the CEO at Alibaba said physical stores represent an indispensable role in the consumer journey, and must be enhanced through technology that is data-driven, and personalized services in today's digital economy.

Sun Art holds about 8.2% of China's grocery market.

The agreement fabricates Alibaba the second largest shareholder in the business, which has a market cap of over US$10 billion.

Sun Art Retail runs almost 450 hypermarkets across China under its Auchan and RT-Mart brands.

Alibaba's essentially using Sun Art to quicken an assault on the $4 trillion brick-and-mortar retail arena, escalating competition with Wal-Mart in the hypermarts that hawk everything from fresh produce to electronics.

The company's latest blockbuster deal, one of its largest acquisitions to date, will see it pay HK$22.4 billion ($2.86 billion) for 36.2% of the shares of Hong Kong-listed Sun Art Retail Group Ltd., Alibaba announced on Sunday. These hybrid stores allow customers to buy items and make payments via unmanned payment checkouts, or order for delivery.

"In recent years, consumer' demands have changed tremendously with the rapid growth of the mobile internet, and Sun Art is also endeavoring to move from offline to online", said Peter Huang, Vice Chairman of Ruentex Group.

Shares of Sun Art Retail Group, which were postponed on November 13, restarted on Monday and were declined 5.3 percent in morning trade, while the benchmark index was flat. These deals concentrate on providing a connection between online and offline commerce, both for users and retailers. The company aims to build the future infrastructure of commerce.

Alibaba is sustaining its enhancement into offline retail succeeding the Chinese e-commerce mammoth purchased more than one-third of one of Chinese most productive mechanics of hypermarket stores.

In January this year, Alibaba snapped up the remaining stake in InTime and took the company private.

In August, Amazon bought U.S. upmarket grocery chain Whole Foods Market for US$13.7 billion, the biggest acquisition in the e-commerce giant's history, in an aggressive push further into physical stores and merge online and offline retail.

Ruentex Group's philosophy of retail business is to sell more and more high-quality products to more and more consumers at lower and lower prices, become the most popular and trusted retailer, and bring the happiness to the consumers.

Sun Art Retail Group is a leading multi-format offline food retailer in China.

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