(Yicai Global) Feb. 26 -- Two of China's biggest tech firms plan to pump CNY1.6 billion (USD257 million) into domestic retailer Better Life Commercial Chain Share Co. as they look to monetize offline operations under the increasingly popular New Retail strategy.
The country's most valuable tech company Tencent Holdings Ltd. and online retailer JD.Com Inc. will act in concert to take an 11-percent firm in Better Life and become its second-largest shareholder, the target firm said in a statement.
The three-way tie-up will give the two investors a bigger share of the offline retail market and unlock the sector's potential, Better Life Chairman Wang Tian told Yicai Global. The deal will create value through synergies in the supply chain and Tencent's vast digital user base, he added.
New Retail has become a key term in China's progressing consumer economy. Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.'s Chairman Jack Ma coined the term in 2016 and pioneered the model. He describes it as "the integration of online, offline, logistics and data across a single value chain."
Tencent and JD.Com have already plowed money into offline supermarkets Yonghui Superstores Co. and the China units of Carrefour SA and Walmart Inc., but Better Life hopes to stand out with its diversified business, which includes dining and entertainment.
Wang founded Better Life as a retail chain, but began to foray into new sectors several years ago. Its brick-and-mortar stores welcome three million visitors every day, which could prove a valuable resource to the online-based investors as they look to digitize offline customers.