(Yicai Global) Feb. 12 -- Chinese e-commerce powerhouse Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and leading home decor firm Beijing Easyhome Investment Holding Group Co. plan to team up under the online retailer's grand plans for New Retail.
Hangzhou-based Alibaba and its associated investors will plow nearly CNY5.5 billion (USD864 million) into Easyhome to take a 15-percent holding, China Economic Net cited the two companies as saying.
The new alliance is the latest in Alibaba's strategy for New Retail, a term Chairman Jack Ma coined in 2016 to describe "the integration of online, offline, logistics and data across a single value chain." The company can now add furniture and decoration to a long list of areas where it has invested in offline: home appliances, digital products, fast-moving consumer goods, supermarkets, department stores and food and beverages.
Easyhome had 223 China stores as of the end of last year, and made CNY60 billion worth of sales. It plans to fully converge online and offline operations by 2022, running 600 brick-and-mortar stores and pulling in CNY100 billion in annual revenue to be China's top brand for home decoration.
Alibaba will help Easyhome digitalize its stores and combine the pair's membership systems to better understand consumers and their purchases. Both companies will share a cloud platform for home decoration as they look to restructure the industry from the design phase through to construction.