x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Saudi's Prince Al Waleed buys Dh1.5bn stake in Chinese online venture

Kingdom Holding, an investment vehicle controlled by Saudi Arabia's Prince Al Waleed, invested 470 million riyals in the acquisition of 360buy Jingdong.

Kingdom Holding invested 470 million riyals in the acquisition of 360buy Jingdong. (Imaginechina via AP Images)
Kingdom Holding invested 470 million riyals in the acquisition of 360buy Jingdong. (Imaginechina via AP Images)

Prince Al Waleed bin Talal has added to his online retail trophy cabinet after leading a consortium to buy a 1.5 billion Saudi riyals (Dh1.46bn) stake in the biggest online business to consumer retailer in China.

Kingdom Holding, an investment vehicle controlled by Saudi Arabia's Prince Al Waleed, invested 470 million riyals in the acquisition of 360buy Jingdong.

Kingdom Holding did not reveal the identity of the other investors in a statement released yesterday.

"Our deal solidifies the strategic relationship between Saudi Arabia and China," said Prince Al Waleed.

The investment is the latest in a string of eye-catching global deals by Kingdom Holding as it has snapped up stakes in fast-growing start-ups, as well as some of the world's biggest companies. It is one of the largest shareholders in Citigroup and Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. It also owns stakes in Apple and Twitter.

Started in 2004 by the Chinese entrepreneur Richard Liu, 360buy Jingdong describes itself on its website as the biggest business to consumer online retailer in China. It sells consumer electronics, home appliances, mother and childcare goods, books, groceries, gourmet food and flight tickets.

"This deal is in line with Kingdom Holding's private equity investment strategy through selecting high growth companies potentially seeking to be listed in one of the international capital markets within three years," said Ahmed Halawani, Kingdom Holding's executive director of private equity and international investments.

Kingdom Holding already has a presence in China via Citigroup. It also has investments in Disneyland Hong Kong and in the hotel sector via its stakes in the Four Seasons Hotels and Fairmont Raffles Hotels.

It is not the first time Kingdom Holding has ventured into the online retail business. It already holds stakes in eBay and Amazon.

Mr Liu said: "We appreciate Kingdom's support and we look forward to a long-lasting and constructive relationship."

Qinvest, the Qatari investment bank, advised the consortium on the deal.

tarnold@thenational.ae