Alibaba invests in bricks to go with its clicks
There have been rumors over the years that Amazon.com was looking to open some sort of brick and mortar presence as a complement to e-commerce operations. Aside from some tinkering by its Quidsi business, the rumors have yet to pan out. While Amazon may never open stores, Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce giant, has made the decision to invest in Intime Retail Group, which owns department stores and supermarkets, to make a concerted push into omni-channel retailing.
In a deal valued at $692 million, Alibaba will add merchandise from Intime’s stores to its Tmall.com site. Orders placed on Tmall will become available for pickup at Intime’s locations.
"We see significant opportunities to extend our e-commerce platform to physical retail, developing a more engaging, omni-channel and digitally-connected shopping experience," Daniel Zhang, Alibaba’s chief operating officer, said in a statement.
Alibaba has been aggressive on the deal making front ahead of a planned initial public offering of company stock in the U.S. A VentureBeat article points out that while Alibaba is most often compared to Amazon, it also has similarities to Google and PayPal. The company generated around $240 billion in sales last year compared to Amazon’s $100 billion.
- Alibaba to Spend $692 Million to Partner With Intime Retail – Bloomberg News
- Alibaba to Pay $692 Million for Stake in Intime Retail – The Wall Street Journal (sub. required)
- Alibaba adds S$870 million deal to shopping cart – Today
- Alibaba plunks down $692M to push into offline retail – VentureBeat
- Chinese e-commerce titan Alibaba confirms IPO – VentureBeat
Will Alibaba become a major force in U.S. retailing in the future? Will its presence create pressure for Amazon.com to pursue an omni-channel strategy in the U.S.?