PARIS: China’s e-commerce behemoth Alibaba has bought a controlling $3.6 billion stake in SunArt which runs hundreds of hypermarkets on the mainland for French shopping giant Auchan.
The move to take a 72% holding in SunArt tightens Alibaba’s grip on China’s vast e-commerce sector as it looks to soak up the new customers pushed online to buy groceries, fresh food and healthcare products by the coronavirus.
It also hands over control of 13 million square metres of retail space in scores of cities across the country.
SunArt was created by Auchan in 2000 with Ruentex Group and joined in an “alliance” with Alibaba in 2017.
That tie-in gave the Chinese firm ownership of around…