Alibaba Group said Sunday it will pay around RMB5.45 billion ($867 million) for a 15% stake in Beijing Easyhome Furnishing, China’s second-largest home-improvement supplies and furniture chain.
The latest investment underscores Alibaba’s ongoing drive to expand New Retail¬≠– a business model that integrates brick-and-mortar and online shopping to create a seamless experience for consumers – to various sectors.
“The investment will combine the strengths of the world’s largest e-commerce platform and rich offline sources of Easyhome,” Alibaba said in a statement.
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Easyhome has 223 stores in 29 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities across China. The Beijing-based company is also a leading player in home design, refurbishment service and building materials.
With over 580 million active monthly users on its e-commerce platform and advanced analytical capabilities, Alibaba is in a unique position to provide brand partners with timely and accurate insights into consumer preferences and buying behavior. The tie-up will provide both online and offline customers with a comprehensive home-improvement solution, Alibaba said.
In November last year, Hangzhou-based Alibaba took a 36% stake in Sun Art Retail Group, the largest hypermarket operator in China. Alibaba also has a stake in China’s biggest consumer electronic chains Suning Commerce Group, as well as in department store powerhouse Intime Retail.
And Alibaba operates the hyerlocal Freshippo (also known as Hema) supermarket chain and has invested in Home Times furniture stores in Hangzhou. Both offer shoppers a New Retail experience.