Alibaba Group is investing about $US692 million in retail company, Intime Retail, with the aim of setting up a joint venture that aims to provide linkages between its online and physical retail businesses in China.
The Chinese e-commerce giant will invest $US214 million in shares of Intime, besides acquiring $US478 million in convertible bonds, according to a filing by Intime to the Hong Kong stock exchange.
The equity investment will give Alibaba a 9.9 per cent share of the enhanced share capital of the company besides giving it the option to acquire a larger stake by converting its bonds into up to 18 percent of the share capital after conversion.
The investment is the latest by Alibaba, which earlier this month invested $US215 million to acquire a minority stake and a seat in the board of US mobile messaging app developer Tango. Alibaba has previously invested in expanding its presence in the US including through a $US200 million investment in Amazon.com competitor ShopRunner and Quixey, a search engine for apps.
In China, Alibaba also bought a stake last year in a large social networking site Sina Weibo and is working to acquire online mapping provider AutoNavi for $US1.1 billion.
The aim of the investment in Intime is to harness the latest Internet technologies and develop an online-to-offline, omni-channel business so as to create a highly convenient and impactful shopping experience, the companies said.
Alibaba will hold a 80 per cent stake in the joint venture with the balance held by Intime.
The investment comes ahead of Alibaba's plan for an initial public offering in the US.