Alibaba invests $633m in Chinese furniture major Red Star Macalline

Photographer: Gilles Sabrie/Bloomberg

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding has invested about Rmb4.36 billion ($633 million) in Red Star Macalline, one of China’s biggest furniture and home improvement retailers, through a five-year convertible bonds acquisition, according to a filing with the Shanghai Stock Exchange.

The convertible bonds would give Alibaba about 10 per cent stake in Red Star Macalline, which operates at least 300 shopping malls and 364 home improvement centers throughout China.

In addition to the convertible bonds, Alibaba also acquired a 3.7-per cent stake in the furniture and home improvement retailer through the firm’s publicly traded shares on the Hong Kong stock exchange.

The investment calls for Alibaba and Red Star to partner in home improvement, home furnishings, shopping malls, and other businesses. Alibaba will provide technology support aligned with its new retail vision that integrates digital and physical channels, according to the agreement signed by the two companies.

Alibaba’s investment came six months after Red Star Macalline announced its partnership with Tencent to cooperate in digital and diversified user services, providing more multi-services for home brands, and comprehensive digital optimisation and operation.

Aside from being one of the largest furniture retailers in China, Red Star Macalline is also an active venture capital investor.

Last week, it participated in the $19.1 million Series C funding round in Orvibo, a Chinese technology firm focused on Internet-of-things technologies and intelligent household hardware.

It also led the corporate round in DreamMaker, an intelligent air purification product development and production company based in Zhejiang, early this month.

The firm also backed the Rmb50-million Series A round of Ruibosi Medical Technology in April. Last November, it led the funding rounds of Seahorse LDY, a Shanghai-based O2O laundry service company, and Aibee, an AI-focused technology firm.

Meanwhile, Alibaba was reportedly in talks with Germany’s Metro to take a stake in the German wholesaler’s China operations. Alibaba‘s interest comes after rival Tencent last year signed a partnership deal with France’s Carrefour, according to a Reuters report in January.

Metro has 95 stores in China and real estate assets in major centres, such as Beijing and Shanghai. Metro and Alibaba have already partnered in online retail in China.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.