Alibaba to take $486m stake in local data firm in offline retail push

FILE PHOTO: A sign of Alibaba Group is seen during the fourth World Internet Conference in Wuzhen, Zhejiang province, China, December 3, 2017. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo

China’s biggest e-commerce company Alibaba Group Holding Ltd will invest $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.

The firm will buy a 38 percent 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 $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 percent stake in Beijing Shiji Information in 2014 for 2.81 billion yuan to help bolster its online travel business.

Reuters

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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.