China’s e-commerce company Alibaba has further expanded its retail presence by acquiring a 15% stake in Beijing’s home-improvement supplies and furniture chain Easyhome Furnishing (Easyhome) with a $867m investment.
By investing in Easyhome, Alibaba intends to expand its new business model that focuses on integrating brick-and-mortar and online shopping segments to create a seamless experience for consumers.
An Alibaba official said: “The investment will combine the strengths of the world’s largest e-commerce platform and rich offline sources of Easyhome.”
With more than 223 stores in 29 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities, Easyhome is said to be the second-largest home-improvement supplies and furniture chain in China.
The Beijing-based company also offers building materials and provides home design and refurbishment services.
Alibaba added that the new partnership will provide both online and offline customers with a comprehensive home-improvement solution.
In another development, the Chinese e-commerce giant is reported to have expanded its presence in the entertainment segment by signing an agreement with The Walt Disney through its Youku platform.
Youku offers video streaming services and is wholly owned the Alibaba Digitial Media and Entertainment Group.
Youku president Yang Weidong said: “The addition of Disney content greatly enriches the library of quality international content on Alibaba’s media and entertainment ecosystem.
“We look forward to further cooperation with global entertainment companies, which will help increase our penetration in the family entertainment segment and strengthen Youku’s position as a leading multi-screen entertainment and media platform in China.”