Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce giant bids to fully acquire Intime for $2.6 billion in an aim to modernise its offline retail.
Three months ago Alibaba secured stakes worth of $692 million in Intime but now it wants to acquire the company completely and take it off the Hong Kong stock exchange.
Intime operates 29 department stores and 17 shopping malls across China which would help Alibaba get a strong command over China’s retail market. TechCrunch reports that most people believe that online and offline commerce to be at odds with one another. However, Alibaba keeps its focus on offline-to-online.
“Our combination with Intime will enable us to tap into the long-term growth potential of a new form of retail in China powered by internet technology and data,” said Alibaba Group CEO Daniel Zhang in a statement.
The company also believes that the move to mobile has opened up choices for brick-and-mortar retailers to improve shopping experience. for example, allowing customers to pay electronically at cash registers, enjoy targeted e-promotions while shopping in stores, and buy merchandise online but pick up orders in physical shops if they don’t want to wait for delivery. During Alibaba’s giant 11.11 Global Shopping Festival in November, the company launched a Pokemon Go-like augmented-reality mobile game to drive traffic to real-world retailers including Intime shopping malls, reported Alizila.
“We don’t divide the world into real or virtual economies, only the old and the new,” Zhang said. “Those who cling on to the old ways of retailing will be disrupted, and brick-and-mortar businesses will be able to create value for consumers if they are integrated with the power of mobile reach, real-time consumer insights, and technology capability to improve operating efficiency.”