The Hustle

Jack’s grocery games: Alibaba drops almost $3B on Chinese “hypermart”

When Amazon makes a move, you better believe Alibaba is watching -- and their $14B acquisition of Whole Foods this summer is no exception. Ma and The Gang continue their supermarket sweep, purchasing 36% of Sun Art Retail Group, a...


November 21, 2017

When Amazon makes a move, you better believe Alibaba is watching — and their $14B acquisition of Whole Foods this summer is no exception.

Ma and The Gang continue their supermarket sweep, purchasing 36% of Sun Art Retail Group, a grocer that controls 400 “hypermarts” across the country — and an 8.2% stake in the $1.5T Chinese grocery space.

“It’s not a store, it’s a hypermart

You know, the kind of establishment you could live in, and no one would notice. We’re talking about brick-and-mortar megastores like Walmart, that hawk everything from baby carrots to car tires under the same roof.

Sun Art is one of the few retail chains with a nationwide presence in China’s highly fragmented grocery market market (yes, a market of markets), and they’ve been making grabs in a number of grocery and retail companies in hopes of unifying the space.

Anything Jeff can do, Jack can do better

So sure, a $2.9B deal isn’t as sexy as a $14B takeover… but this is about strategy, not showmanship. 

Revenue from Alibaba’s new retail partnerships have quintupled in the last quarter, and they’ve been droppin’ billions on grocers, malls, and department stores since 2014 — years before Bezos got into the organic hummus game.

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