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Alibaba to take US$486m stake in China retail data firm
[SHANGHAI] China's biggest e-commerce company Alibaba Group Holding Ltd will invest US$486 million for a stake in a domestic big-data firm focused on hotels and retail, as part of a push to deepen its offline presence.
The firm will buy a 38 per cent stake in Shiji Retail Information Technology Co via its subsidiary Alibaba Investment Ltd, the data firm's listed parent said in a filing to the Shenzhen stock exchange on Thursday.
The deal is part of a "new retail" strategic cooperation, Beijing Shiji Information Technology Co Ltd said, referring to a shift by Alibaba and rivals to leverage big-data to shake up China's huge but stalling retail market.
Alibaba has been beefing up its retail presence with more than US$10 billion of investments into brick-and-mortar outlets amid rising competition in the space from rival Tencent Holdings Ltd.
Alibaba did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the announcement by Beijing Shiji Information.
Beijing Shiji Information says it provides software and data systems to hotel firms such as InterContinental Hotels Group, retailers such as Starbucks Corp, and entertainment companies.
The latest deal comes after another Alibaba subsidiary, Taobao (China) Software Co Ltd, agreed to take a roughly 15 per cent stake in Beijing Shiji Information in 2014 for 2.81 billion yuan (S$592.1 million) to help bolster its online travel business.