Alibaba to take US$486 million stake in China retail data firm

Shanghai, February 8, 2018 – China’s biggest e-commerce company Alibaba Group Holding Ltd will invest US$486 million for a stake in a domestic big- data firm focused on hotels and retail, as part of a push to deepen its offline presence.

A logo of Alibaba Group is pictured at its headquarters in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China, October 14, 2015. REUTERS/Stringer

The firm will buy a 38% stake in Shiji Retail Information Technology Co via its subsidiary Alibaba Investment Ltd, the data firm’s listed parent said in a filing to the Shenzhen stock exchange on Thursday.

The deal is part of a “new retail” strategic cooperation, Beijing Shiji Information Technology Co Ltd said, referring to a shift by Alibaba and rivals to leverage big-data to shake up China’s huge but stalling retail market.

Alibaba has been beefing up its retail presence with more than US$10 billion of investments into brick-and-mortar outlets amid rising competition in the space from rival Tencent Holdings Ltd.

Alibaba did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the announcement by Beijing Shiji Information.

Beijing Shiji Information says it provides software and data systems to hotel firms such as InterContinental Hotels Group , retailers such as Starbucks Corp, and entertainment companies.

The latest deal comes after another Alibaba subsidiary, Taobao (China) Software Co Ltd, agreed to take a roughly 15% stake in Beijing Shiji Information in 2014 for 2.81 billion yuan to help bolster its online travel business.