Alibaba Group on Sunday revealed that it will be working towards expansion of its retail footprint and has announced that it invested RMB 5.45 billion (around $867 million) for 15% stake in Beijing Easyhome Furnishing, China’s second-largest home-improvement supplies and furniture chain and invested $486 million in Shiji Retail Information Technology, for 38% stakes.
“The investment will combine the strengths of the world’s largest e-commerce platform and rich offline sources of Easyhome,” Alibaba said in a statement.
Alibaba has been working on its strategy- “new retail” which is aimed at combining online and offline. As a part of this strategy, the Beijing Easyhome deal is Alibaba’s fourth major investment in a brick and mortar chain after it bought majority of stakes in hypermarket firm Sun Art for $2.9 billion and shopping mall operator InTime for $2.6 billion. Earlier to that it invested $4.6 billion in a high-profile electronics retailer Suning.
Beijing Easyhome has 223 stores in 29 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities across China. It is one of the leading players in home design, refurbishment service and building materials.
In Alibaba’s view, it wants to provide customers an overall shopping experience in offline-stores while they use the benefits of mobile system- like- Amazon Go cashier-less stores, or the ones Tencent launched in Shanghai.
This latest funding round comes only a couple of days after Alibaba, along with its payment affiliate- Ant Financial invested $500 million in Indian food-delivery and restaurant finder Zomato and online grocer BigBasket.