Alibaba to acquire 33% equity interest in Ant Financial

Hangzhou, China, 2018-Feb-02 — /EPR Retail News/ — Alibaba Group Holding Limited (NYSE: BABA, “Alibaba”) and Ant Small and Micro Financial Services Group Co., Ltd. (“Ant Financial”) today (February 1, 2018) announced that pursuant to 2014 transaction agreements, Alibaba will acquire a 33% equity interest in Ant Financial. The parties have agreed to certain amendments to their 2014 transaction agreements to facilitate the transaction.

Under the terms of the amended agreements, Alibaba will acquire newly-issued equity from Ant Financial in exchange for certain intellectual property rights owned by Alibaba exclusively related to Ant Financial. There will be no cash impact to Alibaba following completion of the transaction. Upon closing, the companies will terminate the current profit-sharing arrangement under which Ant Financial pays royalty and technology service fees in an amount equal to 37.5% of its pre-tax profits to Alibaba.

Daniel Zhang, Chief Executive Officer of Alibaba Group, said, “This transaction is a significant step for Alibaba to enhance our long-term strategic relationship with Ant Financial as we continue to pursue our mission to make it easy to do business anywhere. Importantly, an equity stake in Ant Financial enables Alibaba and our shareholders to participate in the future growth of the financial technology sector, as well as the benefits of user growth and improved customer experience.”

Eric Jing, Chief Executive Officer of Ant Financial, said, “We are pleased to strengthen our strategic relationship with Alibaba. This marks the next step in our collaboration to generate more strategic synergies and deliver tremendous value proposition to our customers. We look forward to continuing to work with Alibaba as we pursue our mission to bring the world equal opportunities.”

The transaction was reviewed and approved by a committee of non-executive directors, the majority of whom are independent under NYSE rules (the “Alibaba Independent Committee”), the audit committee of Alibaba’s board and the full Alibaba board of directors. The closing of the transaction is subject to customary conditions. Alibaba will acquire the equity interest in Ant Financial through a Chinese domestic subsidiary.

Morrison & Foerster and King & Wood Mallesons acted as legal advisors, Credit Suisse acted as financial advisor and PricewaterhouseCoopers acted as tax advisor to the Alibaba Independent Committee. Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, Sidley Austin LLP and Fangda Partners acted as legal advisors to Ant Financial.

A detailed summary of the transaction has been filed by Alibaba on Form 6-K with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

About Alibaba Group
Alibaba Group’s mission is to make it easy to do business anywhere. The company aims to build the future infrastructure of commerce. It envisions that its customers will meet, work and live at Alibaba, and that it will be a company that lasts at least 102 years.

About Ant Financial
Ant Financial Services Group is focused on serving small and micro enterprises, as well as individuals. Ant Financial is dedicated to bringing the world more equal opportunities through building a technology-driven open ecosystem and working with other financial institutions to support the future financial needs of society. Brands under Ant Financial Services Group include Alipay, Ant Fortune, Zhima Credit, MYbank.

For more information on Ant Financial, please visit our website at www.antfin.com or follow us on Twitter @AntFinancial.

Safe Harbor Statements
This announcement contains forward-looking statements. These statements are made under the “safe harbor” provision of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements can be identified by terminology such as “will,” “expects,” “anticipates,” “future,” “intends,” “plans,” “believes,” “estimates,” “potential,” “continue,” “ongoing,” “targets” and similar statements. Forward-looking statements involve inherent risks and uncertainties, including but limited to the following: uncertainties as to the timing of the consummation of the transaction and the parties’ ability to consummate the transaction; the timely satisfaction of the closing conditions; regulatory approvals and uncertainties; unexpected costs, charges or expenses resulting from the transaction; potential adverse reactions or changes to business relationship resulting from the transaction; changes in laws, regulations and regulatory environment; fluctuations in general economic and business conditions; and actions by third parties, including government agencies. Further information regarding these and other risks is included in Alibaba’s filings with the SEC. All information provided in this announcement is as of the date of this announcement and are based on assumptions that we believe to be reasonable as of this date, and Alibaba does not undertake any obligation to update any forward-looking statement, except as required under applicable law.

Media Contacts:
Brion Tingler
Alibaba Group
+1 917 528 1992
brion.tingler@alibaba-inc.com

Fanny Wu
Ant Financial
+86 139 1026 8281
chen.wc@antfin.com

Rachel Chan
Alibaba Group
+852 9400 0979
rachelchan@alibaba-inc.com

Source: Alibaba Group

MAPIC: Alibaba will attend the event and deliver keynote address

MAPIC: Alibaba will attend the event and deliver keynote address

 

Sébastien Badault, CEO of Alibaba France, will give a keynote speech at the retail real estate market

Paris, 2017-Oct-20 — /EPR Retail News/ — MAPIC, the world’s leading retail real estate market today announces that China’s giant e-commerce group, Alibaba, will attend the event and deliver a keynote address to MAPIC delegates.

Sébastien Badault, CEO of Alibaba France, will host a MAPIC keynote on the evolution of e-commerce, on Wednesday, November 15 at 9.00 am. Currently involved in a strategic move to grow its business internationally, Alibaba is one of the world’s seven largest technology companies behind Apple, Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Facebook and Tecent and is valued at $470 billion.

With physical store retailers heading online, internet-based brands moving into bricks and mortar, consumers navigating between the online and offline shopping experience and an increasing use of Big Data in the retail sector, retail strategies are evolving rapidly. Industry observers say that China has become a showcase for future retailing and that Alibaba is a pioneer with its ‘New Retail’ programme.

Sébastien Badault will outline his vision of the future of retail at MAPIC this year. Sébastien Badault, who previously worked at Amazon and Google and took over the management of Alibaba France in December 2015, is responsible for developing the presence of the Chinese e-commerce giant in France.

Franck Laizet, partner at McKinsey & Company, will kick off the conference session entitled “reimainging retail in the 21st century.” Drawing from McKinsey’s recent research, Franck will highlight the biggest trends evolving consumer behavior and what it means for real estate.

Check out the complete conference programme

About Reed MIDEM:
Founded in 1963, Reed MIDEM is an organiser of professional, international markets that are essential business platforms for key players in the sectors concerned. These sectors are MIPTV, MIPDOC, MIPCOM, MIPJUNIOR in Cannes, MIP China in Hangzhou and MIP Cancun in Mexico for the television and digital content industries; MIDEM in Cannes for music professionals; Esports BAR in Cannes and in Miami for the esports business; MIPIM in Cannes, MIPIM UK in London, MIPIM Asia Summit in Hong Kong and MIPIM PropTech Summit in New York for the real estate industry; MAPIC in Cannes, MAPIC Russia in Moscow, MAPIC Italy in Milan, MAPIC China Summit in Shanghai and IRF brought by MAPIC in Mumbai for the retail real estate sector. www.reedmidem.com

About Reed Exhibitions:
Reed Exhibitions is the world’s leading events organiser, with over 500 events in over 30 countries. In 2016 Reed brought together over seven million event participants from around the world generating billions of dollars in business. Today Reed events are held throughout the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and Africa and organised by 38 fully staffed offices. Reed Exhibitions serves 43 industry sectors with trade and consumer events. It is part of RELX Group, a global provider of information and analytics for professional and business customers across industries. www.reedexpo.com

For more information about MAPIC, please contact:

My-Lan CAO – Press Director
Tel: +33 1 79 71 95 44
Mylan.cao@reedmidem.com

Farah Boudjemia– Press Manager
Tél. : +33 1 79 71 98 02
Farah.boudjemia@reedmidem.com

Source: MAPIC

###

Alibaba increases ownership in Cainiao to majority stake of 51%; will invest additional US$15.2 billion over the next five years

  • An additional investment of RMB5.3 billion (US$807 million) will increase Alibaba’s stake to 51%
  • Alibaba also announces intention to invest an additional RMB100 billion (US$15.2 billion) over the next five years to expand its logistics network

Hangzhou, China, 2017-Oct-03 — /EPR Retail News/ — Alibaba Group Holding Limited (NYSE: BABA, “Alibaba”) today announced that as a further step to implement its New Retail strategy, the company has agreed to make an additional investment of RMB5.3 billion (US$807 million) to increase its ownership of Cainiao Smart Logistics Network Limited (“Cainiao”), the logistics affiliate of Alibaba, to a majority stake of 51%. Alibaba also announced its intention to invest RMB100 billion (US$15.2 billion) over the next five years to further strengthen its global logistics network that aims to realize its mission of fulfilling orders in China within 24 hours and within 72 hours anywhere in the world. These investments are expected to enhance the overall logistics experience for consumers and merchants across the Alibaba ecosystem, as well as to enable greater efficiencies and lower costs in China’s logistics sector.

Upon completion of the transaction, Alibaba’s stake in Cainiao will increase from 47% to 51%, and Alibaba will gain one additional new seat on Cainiao’s board of directors, increasing its board representation to four out of seven seats.

The additional investment of RMB100 billion (US$15.2 billion) over the next five years will be used to increase R&D in logistics data technology, as well as for development of smart warehousing, smart delivery and global logistics infrastructure, all of which are core to building the global logistics network of the future.

“Our goal with this investment is to provide comprehensive, first-class experience for consumers globally,” said Daniel Zhang, CEO of Alibaba Group. “Our commitment to Cainiao and additional investment in logistics demonstrate Alibaba’s commitment to building the most-efficient logistic network in China and around the world. By enhancing the logistics capabilities within the Alibaba ecosystem and extending our investment in this sector, we are further enabling our New Retail strategy to bring online and offline retail into one seamless experience for shoppers. We will also continue to deepen our collaboration with various logistics partners to achieve this goal.”

This transaction is expected to be completed in October 2017, subject to satisfaction of customary closing conditions. Following the completion of the transaction, financial results of Cainiao will be consolidated under Alibaba Group and reported as part of the core commerce business segment.

Credit Suisse acted as financial advisor to Alibaba and Morgan Stanley acted as financial advisor to Cainiao.

About Alibaba Group
Alibaba Group’s mission is to make it easy to do business anywhere. The company aims to build the future infrastructure of commerce. It envisions that its customers will meet, work and live at Alibaba, and that it will be a company that lasts at least 102 years.

About Cainiao Network
Cainiao Network is dedicated to meeting the current and future logistics demands of China’s online and mobile commerce sector. It operates a logistics data platform that leverages the capacity and capabilities of logistics partners to fulfill transactions between merchants and consumers at a large scale. It also uses data insights and technology to improve efficiency across the logistics value chain. Cainiao Network is an affiliate of Alibaba Group.

Safe Harbor Statements

This announcement contains forward-looking statements. These statements are made under the “safe harbor” provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements can be identified by terminology such as “will,” “expects,” “anticipates,” “future,” “intends,” “plans,” “believes,” “estimates,” “potential,” “continue,” “ongoing,” “goal”, “targets,” “guidance”, “commits” and similar statements. Among other things, statements that are not historical facts, including statements about Alibaba’s investment plans or the completion of the transaction, are or contain forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements involve inherent risks and uncertainties. A number of factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statement, including but not limited to Alibaba’s investment plans and the possibility that the various closing conditions for the transaction may not be satisfied or waived. All information contained in this announcement is as of the date of this announcement and are based on assumptions that Alibaba believes to be reasonable as of this date. You should not rely upon these forward-looking statements as predictions of future events. Alibaba does not undertake any obligation to update any forward-looking statement, except as required under applicable law.

SOURCE: Alibaba Group Holding Limited

French luxury group Kering and Alibaba take joint enforcement actions online and offline against infringers

Landmark agreement between the luxury group home to some of the world’s most desired luxury brands and Alibaba’s e-commerce marketplaces

PARIS and HANGZHOU, China, 2017-Aug-07 — /EPR Retail News/ — French luxury group Kering, and Alibaba Group and its affiliate Ant Financial Services have come to a groundbreaking agreement to cooperate in their efforts to protect intellectual property and take joint enforcement actions online and offline against infringers in order to provide the best consumer experience and a trusted environment.

The new partnership represents a milestone in both parties’ investment and efforts to protect brands’ intellectual property rights. The companies have established a joint task force with the purpose of collaborating fully, exchanging useful information, and working closely with law enforcement bodies to take appropriate action against infringers of Kering’s brands identified with Alibaba’s advanced technology capabilities.

Kering and its brands will continue to vigorously enforce their intellectual property rights against individuals and third parties responsible for the production, distribution and sale of unauthorized materials in China and throughout the world.

This agreement reflects the parties’ firm belief that taking proactive measures and using advanced technology will help law enforcement bodies and other relevant authorities address the challenges of intellectual property infringement.

As part of the agreement, Kering has agreed to dismiss the lawsuit filed against Alibaba and Alipay, an Ant Financial subsidiary, in the US district court in New York.

About Kering
A global Luxury group, Kering develops an ensemble of luxury houses in fashion, leather goods, jewellery and watches: Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Saint Laurent, Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Brioni, Christopher Kane, McQ, Stella McCartney, Tomas Maier, Boucheron, Dodo, Girard-Perregaux, Pomellato, Qeelin and Ulysse Nardin. Kering is also developing the Sport & Lifestyle brands Puma, Volcom and Cobra. By ‘empowering imagination’, Kering encourages its brands to reach their potential, in the most sustainable manner. The Group generated revenue of €12.385 billion in 2016 and had more than 40,000 employees at year end. The Kering share is listed on Euronext Paris (FR 0000121485, KER.PA, KER.FP).

About Alibaba Group
Alibaba Group’s mission is to make it easy to do business anywhere. The company aims to build the future infrastructure of commerce. It envisions that its customers will meet, work and live at Alibaba, and that it will be a company that lasts at least 102 years.

Kering Contacts:
Press:
Paul Michon
+33 (0)1 45 64 63 48
paul.michon@kering.com

Astrid Wernert
+33 (0)1 45 64 61 57
astrid.wernert@kering.com

Analysts/investors:
Claire Roblet
+33 (0)1 45 64 61 49
claire.roblet@kering.com

Alibaba Contacts:
Brion Tingler
917-528-1992
brion.tingler@alibaba-inc.com

Bob Christie
917-860-9410
bob.christie@alibaba-inc.com

Source: Kering

Alibaba to invest approximately USD1 billion to increase its stake in Lazada Group

Hangzhou, China/Singapore, 2017-Jul-04 — /EPR Retail News/ — Alibaba Group Holding Limited (NYSE: BABA) announced today ( June 28, 2017) that it will invest approximately USD 1 billion to increase its stake in Lazada Group, the leading e-commerce platform in Southeast Asia, from 51% to approximately 83%. This transaction demonstrates the continued success of Lazada’s business, Alibaba’s confidence in the growth potential of the Southeast Asian markets and its commitment to the region as part of its global strategy.

Alibaba will purchase the shares of certain Lazada shareholders at an implied valuation of USD 3.15 billion for the company, reflecting a significant increase in the value of Lazada since Alibaba first acquired its majority stake in April 2016. The transaction will increase Alibaba’s total investment in Lazada to over USD 2 billion. Lazada will continue to operate under the same brand following this investment.

Alibaba’s investment in and collaboration with Lazada have been an important part of expanding Alibaba’s global footprint, providing it with unrivalled access to consumers in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. With only 3% of the region’s total retail sales conducted online, Southeast Asia is expected to offer tremendous growth potential.

With Alibaba’s scale, e-commerce know-how and technology expertise supporting the execution of Lazada’s management team, the two businesses have successfully developed a vibrant e-commerce gateway, giving brands and sellers access to the 560 million consumers in the region. The cooperation has also enabled Lazada to invest further in the marketplace, technology, payments and logistics, greatly enhancing its services and providing an unparalleled consumer experience for online shoppers, as well as critical support for the region’s merchants, many of whom are small businesses.

“As a market leader, Lazada has demonstrated its ability to execute and further lead the region in products and services with the best consumer experience in Southeast Asia while growing a strong ecosystem that supports small businesses going online,” said Daniel Zhang, CEO of Alibaba Group. “The e-commerce markets in the region are still relatively untapped, and we see a very positive upward trajectory ahead of us. We will continue to put our resources to work in Southeast Asia through Lazada to capture these growth opportunities,” he added.

Maximilian Bittner, CEO of Lazada Group, said, “I couldn’t be more excited to deepen our relationship with Alibaba. With their support, we will continue to empower brands and sellers to offer a wide selection of unique assortment to consumers across Southeast Asia while delivering an exceptional customer experience backed by our best-in-class logistics network.”

During the past 12 months, both Lazada and Alibaba worked on a number of initiatives to advance e-commerce in Southeast Asia, endeavoring to lower barriers and facilitate borderless commerce. These initiatives include the establishment of an e-fulfillment center in Malaysia which forms part of Alibaba’s Electronic World Trading Platform (eWTP) strategy, advancing “Thailand 4.0”, and launching Taobao Collection in Singapore and Malaysia allowing local customers to shop for high quality products from China.

Morgan Stanley Asia Limited acted as exclusive financial adviser for the transaction.

About Alibaba Group

Alibaba Group’s mission is to make it easy to do business anywhere. The company aims to build the future infrastructure of commerce. It envisions that its customers will meet, work and live at Alibaba, and that it will be a company that lasts at least 102 years.

About Lazada Group

Lazada is the number one online shopping & selling destination in Southeast Asia – present in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Lazada helps more than 100,000 local and international sellers as well as 2,500 brands serve the 560 million consumers in the region through its marketplace platform, supported by a wide range of tailored marketing, data, and service solutions. Lazada offers an excellent customer experience through a wide network of logistics partners and its own first and last mile delivery arm.

Safe Harbor Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements. These statements are made under the “safe harbor” provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements can be identified by terminology such as “will,” “expect,” “future,” “continue,” “strategy” and similar statements. Forward-looking statements involve inherent risks and uncertainties. A number of factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statement. Further information regarding these and other risks is included in Alibaba’s filings with the SEC. All information provided in this press release is as of the date of this press release and is based on assumptions that Alibaba believes to be reasonable as of this date, and Alibaba does not undertake any obligation to update any forward-looking statement, except as required under applicable law.

Media Contacts:
Rico Ngai
Alibaba Group
+852 9725 9600
rico.ngai@alibaba-inc.com

William Gaultier
Lazada Group
+65 8459 5766
william.gaultier@lazada.com

Source: Alibaba Group

Alibaba becomes the official “Cloud Services” and “E-Commerce Platform Services” Partner of the Olympic Channel

Breakthrough partnership will support the IOC and the Olympic Movement achieve Olympic Agenda 2020 vision in a new digital era

Davos, Switzerland, 2017-Jan-24 — /EPR Retail News/ — The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Alibaba Group (NYSE: BABA) today (19 January 2017 ) jointly announced a long-term partnership through 2028. Joining The Olympic Partner (TOP) worldwide sponsorship programme, Alibaba will become the official “Cloud Services” and “E-Commerce Platform Services” Partner, as well as a Founding Partner of the Olympic Channel.

The partnership was announced today at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, with IOC President Thomas Bach, Alibaba Group Founder and Executive Chairman Jack Ma and Alibaba Group Chief Executive Officer Daniel Zhang.

Thomas Bach, President of the IOC, said: “In this new digital world, Alibaba is uniquely positioned to help the IOC achieve a variety of key objectives outlined in Olympic Agenda 2020, while positively shaping the future of the Olympic Movement. This is a ground-breaking, innovative alliance, and will help drive efficiencies in the organisation of the Olympic Games through 2028, whilst also supporting the global development of digital opportunities including the Olympic Channel.”

“Alibaba’s partnership with the IOC is built on a foundation of shared values and a common vision for connecting the world and enriching people’s lives,” said Jack Ma, Founder and Executive Chairman of Alibaba Group. “We are proud to support Olympic Agenda 2020, using our innovations and technologies to help evolve the Olympic Games for the digital era.”

Through this partnership, Alibaba’s contributions to the Olympic Movement will include:

  • best-in-class cloud computing infrastructure and cloud services to help the Olympic Games operate more efficiently, effectively and securely, including supporting big data analytics requirements;
  • the creation of a global e-commerce platform for Olympic stakeholders to engage and connect with fans seeking official Olympic licensed products manufactured by the Olympic parties’ official licensees, and selected sports products, on a worldwide basis; and
  • leveraging Alibaba’s leading digital media technologies and know-how to develop and customise the Olympic Channel for a Chinese audience.

“Alibaba is proud to empower the International Olympic Committee in a game-changing digital transformation, while moving another step closer toward our goal to serve 2 billion consumers,” said Daniel Zhang, Chief Executive Officer of Alibaba Group. “We will leverage our experience in serving a young user base to help connect more young people to the Olympic Movement, helping to strengthen our brand through this historic partnership.”

Tsunekazu Takeda, the IOC’s Marketing Commission Chair, said: “We are delighted to be working in the long term with Alibaba for the benefit of the Olympic Movement. This strategic partnership underlines the global appeal of the Olympic values and opens an exciting new chapter in this digital age.”

Alibaba is the first company to make a long-term commitment to the IOC through 2028 and the first Chinese company to commit to the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022.

Alibaba will support the organisers of each edition of the Olympic Games, and the Olympic Movement around the world. These rights will include advertising and promotional use of Olympic marks and imagery from the Olympic Games as well as marks from the National Olympic Committees.

Alibaba’s global activation rights will include the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 and the Olympic and Olympic Winter Games in 2024, 2026 and 2028 in cities yet to be selected by the IOC.

Conference Call Details:

Alibaba Group and the IOC will host a conference call to discuss this new global partnership at 3 p.m. CET / 9 a.m. EST on 19 January 2017.

Dial & Conference ID:

  • International: +65 6713 5330
  • US: +1 844 760 0770
  • UK: +44 203 713 5084
  • Hong Kong: +852 3018 8307
  • Conference ID: 56463850

A digital recording of the conference call will be available for replay two hours after completion through 22 January. To access:

Webcast of Press Conference

The press conference will be webcast live and archived by the World Economic Forum at the following link:
https://www.weforum.org/events/world-economic-forum-annual-meeting-2017/player?p=1&pi=1&id=87396

About the IOC
The International Olympic Committee is a not-for-profit independent international organisation made up of volunteers, which is committed to building a better world through sport. It redistributes more than 90 per cent of its income to the wider sporting movement, which means that every day the equivalent of USD 3.25 million goes to help athletes and sports organisations at all levels around the world.

About Alibaba Group
Alibaba Group’s mission is to make it easy to do business anywhere. The company aims to build the future infrastructure of commerce. It envisions that its customers will meet, work and live at Alibaba, and that it will be a company that lasts at least 102 years.

For more information and corporate b-roll visit Alibaba’s new corporate site Alizila.com

IOC Media Relations Team:

Tel: +41 21 621 6000
Email: pressoffice@olympic.org
Or visit our website at www.olympic.org

Videos: YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/iocmedia

Broadcast quality footage: IOC Newsroom: http://iocnewsroom.com/

Photos: For an extensive selection of photos available shortly after each event, follow IOC on Flickr. To request archive photos and footage, please contact: images@olympic.org

Source: Alibaba Group

Alibaba announces proposal to privatize department store operator Intime Retail

Transaction will transform conventional retail

Hangzhou, China, 2017-Jan-13 — /EPR Retail News/ — Alibaba Investment Limited (“Alibaba”), a wholly owned subsidiary of Alibaba Group Holding Limited (NYSE: BABA) (“Alibaba Group”) announced today (January 10, 2017) that Alibaba, together with an entity wholly-owned by Mr. Shen Guo Jun, founder of Intime Retail (Group) Company Limited (HKSE: 1833) (“Intime”) (together, the “Joint Offerors”), have requested the board of directors of Intime to put forward to shareholders a proposal to privatize the department store operator by way of a scheme of arrangement.

Shares in Intime will be cancelled in exchange for a payment by the Joint Offerors at HK$10.00 per share, representing a premium of approximately 53.59 percent over the average closing price of Intime shares over the last 60 days, and 42.25 percent over the closing price of HK$7.03 before trading was suspended on December 28, 2016.

Intime is a leading department store chain in China operating 29 department stores and 17 shopping malls, mainly in first- and second-tier cities in China. It has a particularly strong footprint in Zhejiang Province, where Alibaba Group is headquartered. Alibaba currently owns approximately 28% of the equity interests in Intime pursuant to an initial investment in July 2014 and a conversion into equity of convertible debt securities in June 2016. Under the proposed transaction, Alibaba would become the controlling shareholder of Intime and it is expected that its shareholding in the company would increase to approximately 74%.

The proposed transaction reflects Alibaba Group’s strategy to transform conventional retail by leveraging its substantial consumer reach, rich data and technology. With the advent of the mobile phone, the distinction between online and offline consumer shopping experience has become obsolete. “E-commerce” is no longer about shopping in front of a computer at home. Today’s consumers in China engage in commerce activities from anywhere, anytime, with the help of a mobile phone. This dynamic shift to mobile has enabled Alibaba Group to work with brick and mortar retailers to integrate online and offline customer data, enhance consumers’ in-store experience as well as achieve improvements in inventory efficiency and sales turnover. As of the quarter ended September 2016, 78% of the gross merchandise volume on Alibaba Group’s China retail marketplaces was generated from mobile, and mobile monthly active users reached 450 million in the month of September.

“China’s total retail sector is a US$4.5 trillion economy and is growing at 10.7% a year. Alibaba is working with offline retailers to transform conventional approach, create new consumer shopping experience and use actions to embrace future opportunities under the new retail model,” said Daniel Zhang, Alibaba Group Chief Executive Officer. “We don’t divide the world into real or virtual economies, only the old and the new. Those who cling on to the old ways of retailing will be disrupted, and brick and mortar businesses will be able to create value for consumers if they are integrated with the power of mobile reach, real-time consumer insights, and technology capability to improve operating efficiency. Our combination with Intime will enable us to tap into the long-term growth potential of a new form of retail in China powered by Internet technology and data.”

The maximum amount of cash required for the proposal is expected to be approximately HK$19.8 billion (US$2.6 billion). The Joint Offerors are financing the transaction through internal cash resources and/or external debt financing.

The proposed transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including approval from Intime’s independent shareholders and the sanction of the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands. Please refer to the joint announcement filed with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange for details of the proposal to Intime shareholders.

The directors of Alibaba Investment Limited jointly and severally accept full responsibility for the accuracy of the information contained in this document and confirm, having made all reasonable inquiries, that to the best of their knowledge, opinions expressed in this document have been arrived at after due and careful consideration and there are no other facts not contained in this document, the omission of which would make any statement in this document misleading.

Media Contacts:

Asia
Rachel Chan
Alibaba Group
+852 9400 0979
rachelchan@alibaba-inc.com

Rico Ngai
Alibaba Group
+852 9725 9600
rico.ngai@alibaba-inc.com

US & Europe
Robert H. Christie
Alibaba Group
+1917 860 9410
bob.christie@alibaba-inc.com

Brion Tingler
Alibaba Group
+1 917 528 1992
brion.tingler@alibaba-inc.com

Source: Alibaba Group

Alibaba: Tmall debuts new products from the biggest electronic brands during the 11.11 Global Shopping Festival

Alibaba: Tmall debuts new products from the biggest electronic brands during the 11.11 Global Shopping Festival
Alibaba: Tmall debuts new products from the biggest electronic brands during the 11.11 Global Shopping Festival

 

Hangzhou, China, 2016-Nov-08 — /EPR Retail News/ — Alibaba Group (NYSE: BABA) today (November 3, 2016 ) announced its plans to bolster Tmall’s position as the leading ecosystem for the most cutting-edge IoT products, and the go-to platform to drive consumer adoption of a technology-enabled lifestyle. As part of the initiative, Tmall will showcase its prowess in the consumer technology category during the 11.11 Global Shopping Festival by debuting new products from some of the biggest names in the industry, including Beats by Dr. Dre, iRobot, Dyson, Leica, among many others.

At a press conference at Alibaba’s headquarters in Hangzhou, Alibaba Group CEO Daniel Zhang and head of Tmall Electronics Jing Yin, gathered with top executives from Beats, iRobot, Intel, the Consumer Technology Association, and other key industry representatives, to discuss the growth of IoT in China, and how the industry can leverage e-commerce to further advance product and technology innovation.

“Over the past 17 years, Alibaba has been constantly evolving our ecosystem to support today’s new era of commerce powered by the Internet and new technologies,” said Daniel Zhang, CEO of Alibaba Group. “With more than 439 million active users on our platforms, Alibaba owns a robust database of real-time consumer insights that not only fuels our ecosystem, but serves as an extremely powerful source of market intelligence for our partners and clients. As we enter the fast-changing age of IoT, we’re excited to join forces with key global players in the industry such as Intel and CTA to spearhead the creation of a smart living ecosystem that will significantly improve people’s everyday lives.”

Alibaba’s Tmall Electronics marketplace introduced more than 280 new products this fall. Over the years, the platform has transformed from a virtual shopping mall, to an interactive destination for brands and consumers to engage and explore the latest innovations in consumer technology. Many brands are taking advantage of the attention Tmall receives during the 11.11 Global Shopping Festival, the world’s biggest shopping day, to promote their new product lines and help consumers discover ways that technology can enhance their lifestyles. For example:

  • Beats by Dr. Dre will be promoting its new Solo 3 Wireless, the perfect everyday headphone, with extra battery life and enhanced sound quality;
  • Leica to debut its Leica Sofort instant film camera, a small and compact device for fashion-conscious people who love photography. It comes in a choice of three colors – orange, mint and white.
  • iRobot will be launching the Braava Jet 240, a mopping and vacuum cleaning robot that tackles dirt and stains in small places;
  • Dyson to bring its V8 Absolute Cordless Vacuum Cleaner through Tmall to Chinese consumers, which can be used to vacuum floors but also converted to a handheld for quick clean ups, spot cleaning and cleaning difficult places;

“Our partnership with Tmall is focused on delivering the best of wireless and premium sound to the tech-savvy, innovation-loving Chinese audience,” said Luke Wood, President of Beats by Dr. Dre, who also joined today’s event. “We hope to grow with Tmall and its consumers as part of our commitment to bring great product to music fans across China.”

Other brands also leveraging 11.11 as a marketing opportunity to launch new products include Samsung, A.O. Smith, Siemens, Midea, Leica, Bowers and Wilkins, and more. In the weeks leading up to 11.11, participating companies were given a wide selection of engagement opportunities to maximize their brand exposure and consumer interaction during this period, from mobile live streaming, virtual reality shopping, interactive content, games and entertainment, to online-to-offline promotions.

“This year’s 11.11 is testament to our commitment in bringing more innovative smart living products to Chinese consumers,” said Jing Yin, President of Tmall Electronics, Alibaba Group. “Our vision is to collaborate with key players in the industry such as platforms, trade organizations, and brands, to create an open framework that allows innovative companies of all sizes to develop, display, and distribute their products in a far-reaching way. Our common goal is to bring about meaningful change and improvement to consumers’ lives.”

About the 11.11 Global Shopping Festival

The 11.11 shopping festival began in 2009 with participation from just 27 merchants as an event for Tmall.com merchants and consumers to raise awareness of the value in online shopping. Seven years later, 11.11 has become a global event with participating merchants in the tens of thousands, buyers in the millions, and total sales in the billions.

For additional history and facts from last year’s festival, as well as the latest news and updates on the 2016 11.11 Global Shopping Festival, please visit Alizila http://www.alizila.com.

About Alibaba Group

Alibaba Group’s mission is to make it easy to do business anywhere. The company aims to build the future infrastructure of commerce. It envisions that its customers will meet, work and live at Alibaba, and that it will be a company that lasts at least 102 years.

Media Contacts:

Sharon Chan
Alibaba Group
+1 415 361 8219
sharon.chan@alibaba-inc.com

Cathy Yan
Alibaba Group
+852-9012-5806
cathy.yan@alibaba-inc.com

Source: Alibaba Group

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Alibaba Executive Chairman Jack Ma’s work as promoter of easier access to world markets for SMEs recognized at the G20 summit

Alibaba Executive Chairman Jack Ma's work as promoter of easier access to world markets for SMEs recognized at the G20 summit
Alibaba Executive Chairman Jack Ma’s work as promoter of easier access to world markets for SMEs recognized at the G20 summit

 

Hangzhou, China, 2016-Sep-08 — /EPR Retail News/ — Alibaba Executive Chairman Jack Ma’s work as a promoter of easier access to world markets for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) was recognized at the G20 summit. The G20 Leaders Communique released on Monday welcomed the recommendation of business leaders under Business 20 (B20) to strengthen digital trade and took note of its initiative on an Electronic World Trade Platform (eWTP), a concept for a more inclusive way for nations to implement free and fair trade for their SME constituents.

Mr. Ma was the chairman of the B20 SME Development Taskforce. The SME Development Taskforce, which had 107 members from international business, issued recommendations for SME development to the G20, including support for eWTP.

On the heels of the closing of the G20 Summit, World Trade Organization Director General Roberto Azevêdo met with Mr. Ma at Alibaba’s headquarters. Mr. Azevêdo and Mr. Ma discussed Mr. Azevêdo’s vision for a more inclusive WTO and how they can work together to deliver it.

The enablement of global trade is the common objective of both the WTO and eWTP. With a focus on SMEs, eWTP speaks to a shared vision of a future WTO that enables more inclusive trade and ensures small businesses can participate in the digital era. By promoting public-private dialogue to incubate e-trade rules and foster a more effective and efficient policy and business environment, SMEs can further expand their capabilities and reach worldwide.

Speaking to the press after the WTO meeting, Mr. Ma said, “The G20 leaders have acknowledged the importance of freer, more inclusive and innovation-driven trade to extend the benefits of globalization to those that have been left behind in the current model. The eWTP will benefit small and medium-sized businesses and consumers. It is about the people, not big business.”

Mr. Azevêdo said, “Trade has been at the top of the agenda here in Hangzhou – at both the G20 and B20 summits – with leaders calling for trade to be at the heart of efforts towards global growth. As part of this, we must trade more inclusively–allowing everyone to take part and feel the benefits. That means trade must work for SMEs.”

“One vital element will be to ensure that SMEs can access online commercial platforms. That’s why the discussion on digital trade is so important, including the proposal for an Electronic World Trade Platform–or eWTP. This idea, in which Alibaba has played an important role, was one of the key recommendations adopted by the B20 and noted in the G20 leaders communique. I welcome Jack Ma’s leadership on this front, ” added Mr. Azevêdo.

“Making progress here will require a global approach–and therefore the WTO, which sets global trade rules, is looking at how to take work on e-commerce forward, including for the benefit of SMEs and development. I look forward to working with Jack in that effort,” concluded Mr. Azevêdo.

The G20 was also occasion for representative trade and commercial organizations in many countries to sign agreements and discuss cooperation with Alibaba in the areas of access to the Chinese consumer market, travel and tourism, and investment, including organizations from Australia, Canada, Italy and Russia.

Visit Alizila.com, Alibaba’s official news hub, for more coverage of G20-related events http://www.alizila.com/mas-call-for-inclusive-trade-heard-by-g20-wto/

About Alibaba Group
Alibaba Group’s mission is to make it easy to do business anywhere. It is the largest retail commerce company in the world in terms of gross merchandise volume. Founded in 1999, the company provides the fundamental technology infrastructure and marketing reach to help merchants, brands and other businesses that provide products, services and digital content to leverage the power of the Internet to engage with their users and customers.

Source: Alibaba Group

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Alibaba becomes official International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition (IACC) member

Alibaba to advance joint industry anti-counterfeiting efforts as official IACC membership

San Francisco, 2016-Apr-15 — /EPR Retail News/ — Alibaba Group (NYSE: BABA) today announced its official membership in the International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition (IACC) as the first e-commerce company to join the world’s largest non-profit organization dedicated to combating product counterfeiting and piracy.

“Preserving the integrity of Alibaba’s marketplaces is a top priority. Counterfeiting is a global, industry-wide issue, and effective collaboration with brands, retailers, trade associations, governments and other industry partners is a key component to our overall success,” said Matthew Bassiur, Vice President and Head of Global IP Enforcement at Alibaba Group. “IACC membership will further enhance our earnest efforts to forge closer relationships with brands as we continue to explore and implement innovative solutions to address counterfeiting. We strongly value our partnership with the IACC and its members and are proud to be a part of this prestigious coalition.”

“We are thrilled to welcome Alibaba Group as the first e-commerce company to join the IACC and take advantage of our new General Member category. With the pace at which the market is moving, the successful e-commerce platforms will be those who build the right strategic partnerships to ensure safe and trusted marketplaces. We encourage more industry players to join in our efforts,” said Bob Barchiesi, President of the International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition. “Alibaba has consistently shown an unparalleled level of commitment over the years towards working with us and our members on IP protection and anti-counterfeiting matters. Having Alibaba as a member will help enrich the ongoing dialogue among IACC members, and enable us to come up with better ways to tackle counterfeiting worldwide.”

Alibaba Group and the IACC’s partnership began in 2013 with the development of the IACC MarketSafe® Program, a strategic collaboration to help IACC members identify and take down infringing listings on Alibaba’s Taobao and Tmall marketplaces via an expedited removal procedure. Since its launch, the initiative has resulted in a 100% take-down rate when companies stand behind their claims; nearly 5,000 sellers’ store fronts have been closed for selling infringing products and permanently banned from the Taobao and Tmall platforms; and more than 160,000 infringing product listings have been removed. Now, as an official member of the IACC, Alibaba will have access to a global network of more than 250 brands and other IP experts working to develop and implement collaborative solutions to online counterfeiting and piracy. Alibaba will also be able to learn from and contribute to constructive discussions through IACC’s Member Engagement Groups on growing counterfeiting trends and IP best practices with other committed industry members.

Alibaba is committed to being the global leader among e-commerce companies in the battle against counterfeiting. With over 407 million annual active shoppers1 on its China retail marketplaces, Alibaba’s success in being a gateway to China for international brands and merchants is dependent on the amount of trust the industry, and consumers, have in the company. In addition to its direct partnerships with over 580 global brands2, trade associations, and governments, Alibaba is also one of the few e-commerce companies to partner with law enforcement in China to assist in offline anti-counterfeiting investigations. Working with manufacturers and sellers, Alibaba aims to address the problem at the root cause, and continues to refine its policies, upgrade its technological capabilities, as well as build up its in-house expertise on IP enforcement.

About Alibaba Group
Alibaba Group’s mission is to make it easy to do business anywhere. The company is the largest online and mobile commerce company in the world in terms of gross merchandise volume. Founded in 1999, the company provides the fundamental technology infrastructure and marketing reach to help businesses leverage the power of the Internet to establish an online presence and conduct commerce with hundreds of millions of consumers and other businesses.

1 In the quarter ended December 31, 2015, Alibaba Group reported 407 million annual active buyers on its China retail marketplaces, an increase of 21 million from the prior quarter.
2 As of end of January 2016.

Media Contacts

Robert H. Christie
Alibaba Group
+1 917 860 9410
bob.christie@alibaba-inc.com

Sharon Chan
Alibaba Group
+1 415 361 8219
sharon.chan@alibaba-inc.com

Alibaba to acquire controlling stake in the leading e-commerce platform in Southeast Asia Lazada for approximately USD1 billion

Transaction makes Alibaba a leading e-commerce platform in Southeast Asia

Hangzhou, China/Singapore, 2016-Apr-15 — /EPR Retail News/ — Alibaba Group Holding Limited and Lazada Group S.A. announced today that Alibaba entered into an agreement to acquire a controlling stake in Lazada, a leading e-commerce platform in Southeast Asia. The transaction consists of an investment of approximately USD500 million in newly issued equity capital of Lazada and acquisition of shares from certain shareholders of Lazada, for a total investment by Alibaba of approximately USD1 billion. The transaction is expected to help brands and distributors around the world that already do business on Alibaba’s platform, as well as local merchants, to access the Southeast Asian consumer market.

Lazada currently operates e-commerce platforms in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore Thailand and Vietnam. These six countries combined have a population of approximately 560 million and an estimated Internet user base of 200 million, according to Internet Live Stats. With only 3% of the region’s total retail sales conducted online, Southeast Asia is expected to offer tremendous growth potential to both companies as internet penetration continues to rise.

“Globalization is a critical strategy for the growth of Alibaba Group today and well into the future,” said Michael Evans, President of Alibaba. “With the investment in Lazada, Alibaba gains access to a platform with a large and growing consumer base outside China, a proven management team and a solid foundation for future growth in one of the most promising regions for e-commerce globally. This investment is consistent with our strategy of connecting brands, distributors and consumers wherever they are and support our ecosystem expansion in Southeast Asia to better serve our customers.”

Max Bittner, CEO of Lazada Group, added, “We are very excited about joining forces with Alibaba and see significant synergies that will drive great benefits to our customers in Southeast Asia. Southeast Asia is an attractive mobile-driven consumer market that is highly fragmented and diverse with significant barriers to entry and a nascent modern retail sector that has large headroom for growth. The transaction will help us to accelerate our goal to provide the 560 million consumers in the region with access to the broadest and most unique assortment of products. Furthermore, leveraging Alibaba’s unique knowhow and technology will allow us to rapidly improve our services and provide an even more effortless shopping and selling experience.”

In connection with the transaction, Alibaba entered into a put-call arrangement with certain Lazada shareholders, giving Alibaba the right to purchase, and the shareholders the right to sell collectively, their remaining stakes in Lazada at fair market value during the 12 to 18 month period after the closing of the transaction.

Founded in 2012, Lazada is the one-stop e-commerce gateway for local and international brands and distributors to consumers in six distinct Southeast Asian markets: Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. By combining its regional presence with locally tailored capabilities in areas such as supply-chain, last-mile delivery and payment, Lazada has developed a unique solution for global brands and distributors wanting to enter this rapidly growing region.

Credit Suisse (Hong Kong) Limited acted as exclusive financial advisor to Alibaba and Goldman Sachs (Asia) LLC as exclusive financial advisor to Lazada.

Safe Harbor Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements. These statements are made under the “safe harbor” provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements can be identified by terminology such as “will,” “expect,” “future,” “continue,” “strategy” and similar statements. Forward-looking statements involve inherent risks and uncertainties. A number of factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statement. Further information regarding these and other risks is included in Alibaba’s filings with the SEC. All information provided in this press release is as of the date of this press release and is based on assumptions that Alibaba believes to be reasonable as of this date, and Alibaba does not undertake any obligation to update any forward-looking statement, except as required under applicable law.

Media Contacts

Rico Ngai
Alibaba Group
+852 9725 9600
rico.ngai@alibaba-inc.com

Sarimah Salamon
Lazada Group
+65 9430 8043
sarimah.salamon@lazada.com

Alibaba’s Jack Ma joins Starbucks Howard Schultz to discuss the role and responsibility of 21st Century companies

  • Long-term China growth aspirations on-track with 2,000 stores
  • Reaffirms Employer of Choice commitment with largest-ever Partner-Family Forum in Chengdu and China partner experience investments
  • Continued innovation in customer experience through Starbucks social gifting
  • Alibaba Group Founder and Executive Chairman, Jack Ma, joins Starbucks chairman and ceo, Howard Schultz, to discuss the role and responsibility of 21st Century companies

CHENGDU, China, 2016-1-12 — /EPR Retail News/ — Howard Schultz, chairman and chief executive officer, Starbucks Coffee Company (NASDAQ: SBUX) today reaffirmed the strategic role of the China market in shaping the future of the company with the announcement of several market-leading initiatives, further elevating the unique Starbucks Experience for partners (employees) and customers.

Schultz and other company leaders announced the initiatives at Starbucks China Partner-Family Forum in Chengdu where they joined more than 1,300 Central and Western China region partners and their family members to experience Starbucks mission and values together and celebrated the 2,000 store milestone achievement.

“As Starbucks second largest and fastest-growing market globally, China represents the most important and exciting opportunity ahead of us,” said Schultz. “We are deeply humbled by the enthusiasm with which Chinese people have embraced Starbucks as part of their daily ritual over the past 17 years. Over time, it’s conceivable that China could become our largest market and I am grateful to our 30,000 dedicated China partners and their supportive families for the significant contributions they are making to Starbucks success. The continued investments we are making, coupled with the culture of innovation we have established, are elevating Starbucks partner and customer experience beyond that of any other retailer in China.”

Joining Schultz on stage at the Partner Family Forum was Jack Ma, founder and executive chairman of Alibaba Group, where both leaders shared their vision to redefine the roles and responsibilities of a for-profit public company – one that invests in its people, giving back to the local communities in meaningful ways, and creating unique developmental opportunities for the youth of today.

In his introduction of Ma at the Starbucks China Partner Family Forum, Schultz said, “When he and I get together we’re talking about common values and we’re talking about humanity.  Together building the kind of companies our parents would be proud of.  I asked him to come here and share with you his thoughts about building his company and share with you what it means to succeed against all odds in China.”

In addressing the Starbucks Partner Family Forum Ma said, “Alibaba hopes to work together with Starbucks to create even more opportunities to develop Chinese youth because they are our future. All of you at today’s event represent China’s future. The more seeds of love we sow in our Chinese youth today, the more love they will give to the world tomorrow.”

Unparalleled Partner Investments

The Partner Family Forum is a first-of-its-kind employee engagement event, first introduced by Starbucks China in 2012, as part of a series of new initiatives aimed to honor the special role families play in China. Today’s event highlights Starbucks aspiration to build  the world’s most admired and trusted company, while recognizing the significant contributions partners have made and will continue to play in the company’s success in China. The Starbucks Central and Western region is one of the fastest growing regions in China, having tripled its store footprint over the past three years, now operates more than 300 stores across 23 cities.

In addressing Starbucks China partners and family members at the standing room only Partner Family Forum in Chengdu, Schultz said, “I am so incredibly proud of what you (Starbucks China partners) have accomplished. And I promise you (the parents of Starbucks partners) we will grow this company the right way.  I am a true believer in the future of China because of the humanity and the heart and the conscience of the Chinese people. And we will do everything we can to continue to build a great and enduring company that you and your parents can be proud of.”

Beginning this month, full-time baristas and shift supervisors* in Starbucks company-owned stores across China will receive a monthly housing allowance subsidy to help them overcome the initial financial challenges of starting their careers and often, living and working independently. This benefit is expected to on-average to cover 50-percent of their monthly housing expenditures, enabling partners who are starting in their careers the ability to better take care of themselves, while they pursue their personal and professional dreams.

In addition, Starbucks China will introduce the Career Coffee Break, a partner benefit tradition from the U.S., to recognize, appreciate and honor the hard work put in by long serving partners. Starting this month, Starbucks partners within our company-operated store with 10 consecutive years of service will be eligible to apply for a career coffee break, of up to 12 months unpaid leave, to refresh themselves and more importantly, spend quality time with their loved ones and family. The partner will be guaranteed reinstatement to either the same position or a position with similar pay and benefits upon their return to work. The partner’s social and company benefits will also continue during the career coffee break.

“These and other industry-leading partner investments demonstrate our continued commitment to support our China partners to achieve their personal and professional aspirations,” said Belinda Wong, president, Starbucks China. “Families play a tremendous role in the life and career choices for our partners in China and it’s important that we include their families in the conversation of who we are as a company and the investments we’re making toward supporting our partners’ future.”

Starbucks has always believed that success is best when shared. The current pay and benefits programs have reflected the company’s commitment to take care of its partners and their families by offering comprehensive health insurance to full-and part-time partners, and the Starbucks Bean Stock program which gives all partners equity in the company. In addition to the ongoing training and development opportunities at the Starbucks China University, last year the company introduced the Starbucks China Talent Exchange Program for retail partners. In 2015, 16 partners started their international one-year exchange program in Singapore, while another 32 partners have had the opportunity to work in various store locations across China.

Starbucks was named China Best Employer by Aon Hewitt twice consecutively in 2013 and 2015, and China Best Employer Award and Best HR Management Company by Zhaopin and 51job, China’s leading human resource portals, respectively.

Elevating the Customer Experience

Over the past 17 years, Starbucks has been incredibly humbled by how its Chinese customers have come to embrace its stores as a community gathering place. Innovating the customer experience is core to the company and Starbucks once again delivered on this commitment with the opening of an e-flagship store on Alibaba’s Tmall last month, China’s largest open business-to-consumer (B2C) platform. As Starbucks first social gifting platform in China, the Starbucks Tmall e-flagship store  enables customers to foster deeper and more meaningful connections with their friends and loved ones by giving them a convenient and easy way to send a Starbucks gift digitally.  Customers have embraced this new social gifting concept with great enthusiasm. The store has more than 300,000 registered fans and has become the number one performing brand on Tmall’s “Food and Beverage” category within its first month.

“Digital is highly relevant to our customers in China and we are committed to building a locally-relevant Starbucks 4th-place Experience that seamlessly integrates our unique store experience and the digital space, while building moments of human connection for our customers” added Wong. “We will learn from the experiences in our other markets and explore new strategic partnerships with leading platforms to enable the Starbucks China digital flywheel. More awaits us as we implement new digital experience innovations to surprise, delight and exceed the expectations of our Chinese customers.”

Starbucks continues to elevate and innovate its unsurpassed coffee experience at the forefront of its stores for the Chinese customer. Over the past two years, Starbucks opened 45 Starbucks Reserve stores and introduced the pour-over slow bar in 150 stores across China. The Starbucks Reserve stores are specialized store experiences in China devoted to highlighting some of the world’s most exotic, rare and exquisite coffees that are available in limited quantities globally.

As Starbucks accelerates its growth in China to achieve its goal to operate 3,400 stores by 2019, so too will its foundational aspiration to build a different kind of company – one committed to being performance-driven through the lens of humanity. Through the Starbucks China Youth Development Program introduced in June 2014, the company has convened numerous leading experts to establish a unique curriculum focused on developing future leaders in China. 1,500 university students, from both urban and rural areas, and those with disadvantaged backgrounds, will benefit from the program over three years.

*across all company operated markets with a minimum of  six-months with Starbucks China required for eligibility.

Extended captions for photos above:

Starbucks chairman and ceo, Howard Schultz, greets partners (employees) and their family members at Starbucks Partner Family Forum in Chengdu China on Tuesday January 12, 2016.

Starbucks chairman and ceo, Howard Schultz, addresses more than 1,300 company partners (employees) and their family members at Starbucks largest-ever Partner Family Forum in Chengdu China on Tuesday January 12, 2016.

Jack Ma, founder and executive chairman of Alibaba Group (left), and Starbucks chairman and ceo, Howard Schultz (right), shared their visions with more than 1,300 Starbucks partners (employees) and their family members on redefining the role and responsibility of 21st Century public companies at Starbucks Partner Family Forum in Chengdu China on Tuesday January 12, 2016.

For more information on this news release, contact us.

SOURCE:  Starbucks Corporation

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Jack Ma and Howard Schultz, China Partner Family Forum

Jack Ma and Howard Schultz, China Partner Family Forum