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[BEIJING] Chinese online food-delivery service company Ele.me has raised US$1.25 billion from Alibaba Group Holding and its Internet finance arm Ant Financial, Ele.me and Alibaba said in separate statements on Wednesday.
Alibaba has invested US$900 million while Ant Financial has invested US$350 million, Ele.me said in a statement on its official Weibo microblog. Alibaba confirmed the investment in an emailed statement to Reuters.
The investments will help bolster Ele.me's position in a fiercely competitive online food delivery market, where it faces deep-pocketed rivals including Baidu Inc, Meituan-Dianping and Alibaba's own platform Koubei.
Neither Ele.me nor Alibaba gave further details on the deal or said what stakes Alibaba and Ant Financial would receive.
Leading business weekly Caixin reported in December that Alibaba had agreed to invest US$1.25 billion in the food-delivery firm for a 27.7 per cent stake.
Ele.me, which roughly translates as 'Hungry Now?', is part of a trend in China for what is known as online-to-offline (O2O) services. These include taxi hailing and restaurant review apps that link smartphone users with offline businesses.
Broader-focused Meituan-Dianping said in January it had raised over US$3.3 billion from investors including Alibaba-rival Tencent Holdings Ltd, an amount that valued the firm at more than US$18 billion.