Alibaba extends ‘new retail’ push with $693m investment in STO Express

Alibaba

Alibaba has invested in the Chinese courier company STO Express in attempt to strengthen its ‘new retail’ strategy of integrating online and offline shopping.

The CNY4.66bn ($693m) investment in Shanghai-headquartered STO Express for 15% of the company is Alibaba’s fourth investment in an express courier company after taking other minority stakes in YTO Express, ZTO Express and Best. Many of China’s courier firms have risen together with the rapid growth of e-commerce in the country, with seven firms going public in 2017 alone. In 2018, total parcel volume reached almost 51bn.

“We will deepen our existing collaboration with STO in technology, last-mile delivery across China and ‘new retail’ logistics,” said Alibaba in a statement.

Alibaba said its ‘new retail’ strategy is a key growth engine for the company in the future. The idea is that the future of retail lies in allowing consumers to shop whenever they want, whether from the comfort of their own home or in an offline store. As such, Alibaba needs a strong logistics network, so that it can deliver goods as fast as possible.

Source: South China Morning Post/Transport Intelligence