Alibaba to buy major stake in Taiwan's RT-mart business in China

Taiwan-based Ruentex Group joins forces with Alibaba in its efforts to push into the offline retail market

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(By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (阿里巴巴), China's biggest e-commerce company, agreed to acquire a stake in a hypermarket chain partly owned by the Taiwan-based company Ruentex Group (潤泰集團) in its effort to push into offline retail.

Alibaba said on Monday that it would invest US$2.87 billion for a 36.16 percent stake in China's top hypermarket operator, the Hong Kong-based Sun Art Retail Group, which operates more than 440 RT-Mart and Auchan stores in China, reported CNA.

Under the agreement between the three companies, the deal would give French retailer Groupe Auchan, China's Alibaba Group and Taiwanese conglomerate Ruentex 36.18 percent, 36.16 percent and 4.67 percent stakes respectively in Sun Art.

According to Financial Times, the investment is the latest in a series of deals by Alibaba designed to blur the lines between online shopping and physical stores and explore new opportunities in China's food retail sector.

Ruentex, meanwhile, said the deal will help the three partners to create a strategic alliance in the retail market in China.

Ruentex Vice Chairman Peter Huang (黃明端) said in a statement: "Ruentex is delighted to see the win-win collaboration between Sun Art and Alibaba with high synergies in online and offline that will meet the needs of consumers for a better life with better products and services and higher efficiency."

Ruentex Group is a Taiwan-based company principally engaged in the manufacture of textile products, the wholesales of commodities and investment businesses.