(Yicai Global) Nov. 20 -- Chinese e-commerce behemoth Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. [NYSE:BABA], Groupe Auchan SA and Ruentex Group today announced a strategic cooperation in new retail, Sina Tech reported.
Under the deal, Alibaba will invest nearly HKD22.4 billion (USD2.88 billion) in Sun Art Retail Group Ltd. [HKG:6808], giving it a 36.16-percent stake in the firm. Sun Art Retail is the largest and fastest-growing hypermarket operator in China. It operates 446 hypermarkets across 29 provinces and autonomous regions under the brands of Auchan and RT-Mart.
Sun Art Retail currently has four main shareholders, Jixin Holdings (51 percent), Auchan Retail SA (9.71 percent), Ruentex Group (8.46 percent) and Yin Chungyao (7.84 percent), an individual shareholder.
The company's business revenue last year surpassed CNY100 billion (USD15.07 billion), ranking it first among retailers with a market share of 7.8 percent, beating out Vanguard, Wal-mart and Carrefour, figures from research firm Kantar show.
The cooperation will center on Big Data and look to digitize Sun Art's businesses and integrate its online and offline divisions using Alibaba's strengths in the internet world. The hyper-mart operator hopes to modernize its logistics systems and personalize customer experience.
Alibaba has also recently set up partnerships with department store chain Yintai Group, offline retailer Suning Corp., supermarket chain Sanjiang Shopping Club Co. and shopping mall operator Bailian. It has also vigorously explored new business formats, like its fresh food 'e-commerce experience store' Hema Fresh.