In a significant move, Alibaba, the e-commerce giant in China, has made a strategic investment of $3.6 billion to acquire a controlling stake of 72 percent in SunArt, a hypermarket chain operated by French retailer Auchan. SunArt is renowned for its extensive network of stores across mainland China. This acquisition by Alibaba further consolidates its dominance in the Chinese e-commerce sector, particularly in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has prompted a surge in online grocery shopping and the purchase of essential healthcare products.

Through this deal, Alibaba gains control over a whopping 13 million square meters (140 million square feet) of retail space in multiple cities throughout China. SunArt was originally established by Auchan in 2000 in collaboration with Ruentex Group. In 2017, Alibaba entered into an alliance with SunArt by acquiring a one-third stake in the hypermarket company. Since then, Alibaba has been actively involved in transforming SunArt from a traditional brick-and-mortar hypermarket into an online grocery shopping hub, aligning it with Alibaba’s broader e-commerce business.

In a statement released on Monday, Alibaba emphasized SunArt’s progress in digital transformation and highlighted its effective use of resources and technology from within the Alibaba ecosystem. The acquisition of SunArt further strengthens Alibaba’s commitment to providing quick delivery of groceries within 30-60 minutes of ordering through its Tmall platform.

By investing in SunArt, Alibaba aims to tap into the surging demand for online grocery shopping in China. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the shift towards e-commerce, and Alibaba is capitalizing on this trend by expanding its foothold in the grocery sector. This strategic move allows Alibaba to enhance its offerings and provide a seamless shopping experience for consumers across the nation.

Alibaba’s investment in SunArt underscores its determination to solidify its position as a key player in China’s retail industry. As the largest e-commerce platform in the country, Alibaba is continuously innovating and diversifying its business to maintain a competitive edge. This acquisition serves as a testament to Alibaba’s dedication to meeting the evolving needs of Chinese consumers, especially in the sphere of online grocery shopping.

Useful links:
1. Alibaba: https://www.alibabagroup.com/en/global/home
2. SunArt: https://www.sunartretail.com.cn/investors/