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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 September 2018

Alibaba plans $865m investment in Chinese home improvement firm 

Investment in furniture stores is part of Alibaba's push into new retail businesses 

Alibaba Group plans to buy a 15 per cent stake in a chain of Chinese home improvement and furniture stores. Aly Song / Reuters
Alibaba Group plans to buy a 15 per cent stake in a chain of Chinese home improvement and furniture stores. Aly Song / Reuters

Alibaba Group plans to buy a 15 per cent stake in a chain of Chinese home improvement and furniture stores as part of its push into "new retail", the company said on Sunday.

The e-commerce major will invest about 5.45 billion yuan ($865m) in Beijing Easyhome Furnishing Chain Store Group, and support the digital transformation of its 223 stores by applying Alibaba’s expertise in cloud and logistics platforms, it said in an emailed statement.

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The deal adds to founder Jack Ma’s shopping spree in brick and mortar retailers that has shaken up supermarkets and department stores by linking Alibaba’s online business with physical stores - the premise of the “new retail” initiative.

While Alibaba earlier this month reported revenue that topped analyst estimates and raised its growth forecast, its shares tumbled after investments in brick and mortar assets and digital media squeezed profit margins in the December quarter.

The company also said it will buy 33 per cent of Chinese payments company Ant Financial.

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