(Yicai Global) Dec. 3 -- Alibaba Group Holding and Spain's El Corte Ingles, Europe's biggest department store by sales, have agreed to jointly explore new business opportunities in "digital retail" and omnichannel common framework.
The agreement covers cloud computing services, mobile payment and artificial intelligence, and will also wee the partners explore product sales to Chinese customers, the Madrid-based firm said in a statement on Nov. 29.
El Corte Ingles is likely to use Alibaba's Tmall and AliExpress platforms to sell to China and the world, while Alibaba may use El Corte Ingles' Spanish distribution center as a local hub for AliExpress while boosting its profile in the country, which has become one of the Hangzhou-based company's most important markets.
Alibaba and El Corte Ingles plan more collection points for online purchases in Spain, while AliExpress has already started working with the national postal service Sociedad Estatal de Correos y Telegrafos, cutting cross-border shipment times to between 14 and 15 days from 28 days and deliveries of commodities from overseas warehouses to within three days.
Growing cooperation between the companies mirrors the close trade ties between Spain and China. Spain is China's sixth-largest trading partner in the European Union, and China is Spain's largest non-EU trading partner. Bilateral trade rose 7.5 percent to USD30.9 billion last year from a year earlier.
Founded in 1935, El Corte Ingles has 94 department stores and more than 6,700 collection points for online purchases at convenience stores and gas stations across Spain. Last year, it had net profit of EUR202 million (USD230 million) on revenue of EUR15.9 billion.