Alibaba has made another major effort in the physical retail space as it announced today (May 26, Friday) it is acquiring 18 percent of stake in Lianhua Supermarket Holdings, an affiliate of local retail conglomerate Bailian Group. The announcement came after the signing of a strategic partnership with Bailian Group in February this year…Full Article: ECNS.cn May 2017

Key Point

  • Alibaba will purchase Lianhua shares from Yiguo.com, a fresh produce e-commerce platform [see Suning]. Yigou.com will retain a 1.17% stake in Lianhua.

ChinaAg Comments

  • In December 2016, Suning Commerce Group was leading a new round of financing (~US$200 million) to invest in Yiguo E-Commerce.In November 2016, Alibaba’s Tmall (November 15th to 21st) and Yiguo.com (November 17th to 30th) held online promotions for Ecuadorian mangoes (Tommy Atkins variety).
  • In October 2016, Yiguo E-Commerce invested S$24 (~US$17.25 million) in SunMoon Food Company, a Singaporean fresh fruit distributor. During the same month, Suning and Alibaba announced they would jointly invest CNY 1 billion (~US$148 million) to establish an e-commerce company in Chongqing. The Chongqing e-commerce joint venture will be 51% controlled by Suning (CNY 510 million or ~US$75.1 million) and 49% by Alibaba (CNY 490 million or ~US$72.3 million).
  • Founded in 2005 and headquartered in Shanghai, Yiguo E-Commerce is an e-commerce platform that focuses on selling of food products including fruits (domestic and imports), meat (e.g. beef, pork, lamb), poultry eggs, dairy, seafood, vegetables, processed foods (e.g. snacks, frozen food, sausages, sauces, etc.), juice, and wine. In March 2016, Yiguo E-Commerce received an undisclosed amount of financial investment from KKR (private equity firm) and Alibaba (shareholder of Yiguo).
  • Founded in 1992 and headquartered in Shanghai, Shanghai Bailian Group (SHA:600827) owns and operates supermarkets and convenience stores. Listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange since 1993, Shanghai Bailian Group owns Lianhua Supermarket (HKG:0980).
  • Founded in 1991 and headquartered in Shanghai, Lianhua Supermarket (HKG:0980) is a retail grocery chain. From 2000 to 2006, Wang Zongnan (former Chairman of Bright Food Group, guilty of bribe taking in 2015) was Chairman of Shanghai Lianhua Supermarket Holdings. The company also manages an e-commerce platform. As of mid-2017, Lianhua Supermarket had than 3,600 stores located in 19 provinces/municipalities.

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