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HONG KONG: November 21, 2017. The Alibaba Group is acquiring a 36.16 percent stake in the Sun Art Retail Group for US$2.88 billion

Sun Art is a multi-format offline food retailer operating 446 hypermarkets in 29 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities in China under the 'RT-Mart' and 'Auchan' brands.

Auchan RetailAlibaba said it has established an alliance with Sun Art shareholders Ruentex and Auchan Retail to leverage its existing sales channels and technology to provide a seamless online and offline experience to 1.3 billion consumers in China.

"Physical stores serve an indispensable role during the consumer journey, and should be enhanced through data-driven technology and personalized services in the digital economy," said Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang.

Privately-held French group Auchan Retail operates in 17 countries and reported revenue of €51.7 billion in 2016. The company opened its first store in China in 1999.

Commenting on the new partnership, CEO Wilhelm Hubner added: "This alliance with Alibaba stems from our shared vision for the future of commerce in China. Bringing together the leaders of in-store retail and of online retail will allow us to serve hundreds of millions of Chinese consumers a fully integrated, world-class shopping experience."

Ruentex Group vice chairman Peter Huang said combining the resources of the three companies would enable Sun Art's activities to benefit from Alibaba's digital ecosystem together with modern fulfillment and personalized customer experience.

"In recent years, consumer' demands have changed tremendously with the rapid growth of the mobile Internet, and Sun Art is also endeavoring to move from offline to online," he explained. "The win-win collaboration with high synergies in online and offline will meet the needs of consumers for a better life with better products and services and higher efficiency."

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