Not content with its dominance over online shopping, Alibaba has made a big play for traditional retail.
China’s ecommerce giant has put forward a bid to privatise Chinese departmental store chain Intime Retail Group for $2.6 billion.
Alibaba, which runs the popular Taobao B2C marketplace, already owns 28 percent of Intime, and intends to buy it fully to delist it from the Hong Kong stock exchange.
Intime operates 29 department stores and 17 shopping malls across China.
The deal, according to the Wall Street Journal, will need to be approved by Intime’s shareholders and by the Cayman Islands, where Intime is incorporated.
Alibaba certainly isn’t abandoning its online empire.
“Brick and mortar businesses will be able to create value if they are integrated with the power of mobile reach, consumer insights and technology capability,” Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang said in a statement.
“Our combination with Intime will enable us to tap into the long-term growth potential of a new form of retail in China,” he said.
Alibaba’s plans come as its American rival, Amazon, experiment with new offline formats, such as a physical grocery store without cashiers.