“We must continue to create new models and new markets together, and creatively explore and meet the diverse needs of users,” said a spokesman for Alibaba.
On October 19, Alibaba Group announced that it would invest USD 3.6 billion (approximately HKD 28 billion) in Sun Art Retail by acquiring a total of 70.94% of Jixin Holdings Limited from Auchan Retail International S.A. and its subsidiaries. Alibaba's total direct and indirect shareholding in Sun Art Retail has increased to about 72%, making it the controlling shareholder. After the Hong Kong Stock market opened, Sun Art Retail shares rose 11%.
Sun Art Retail has hundreds of hypermarkets in China under Auchan and RT-Mart brands, which can be used to supplement Alibaba's business. Moreover, RT-Mart and Auchan will continue to accelerate on the new retail track, comprehensively improving supply chain efficiency. They are expected to create more diversified new retail formats.
In 2017, the two companies began cooperating through Alibaba's acquisition of approximately 36% of Sun Art Retail, with approximately USD 2.9 billion. So far, RT-Mart and Auchan’s 484 stores have been fully online and have access to Ele.me, Taoxianda and Tmall’s shared inventory business. All stores provide 1-hour delivery within 5 kilometers, and 180 stores support half-day delivery within 20 kilometers.
Besides, Sun Art Retail pointed out in the 2020 semi-annual report that consumers are accelerating online consumption, and the fresh food business has steadily increased. As of June 30, 2020, the new retail solutions provided by Alibaba have driven a 5.7% growth in same-store sales, and the company's net profit has increased by 16.8% year-on-year. It has also brought nearly 50 million users to Sun Art Retail, of which 13 million were active users.