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Alibaba absorbing Sun Art Retail supermarkets  

Alibaba Group Holding is adding Sun Art Retail Group’s supermarket chains to its O2O system.

The supermarkets will be connected to the Taobao’s system by year-end, including 461 outlets under its Auchan and RT-Mart brands. An extra 35 are planned, says RT-Mart chairman Huang Ming-Tuan.

Customers will then be able to order groceries from Taobao and have them delivered from a Sun Art outlet. Two Sun Art stores in Suzhou have already started taking orders through Taobao, says Huang.

Preparation – involving billing, payment, predelivery inspection and inventory systems – is expected to cost RMB50 million (US$7.9 million) for each brick-and-mortar store, Huang says.

Alibaba bought more than a third of Sun Art shares for HK$22.4 billion (US$2.86 billion) in November.

The deal came with an alliance with Sun Art shareholders Auchan Retail and Ruentex Group, and an initial goal of establishing Taobao’s O2O business.

Alibaba also holds shares in regional supermarket owner Lianhua and department store owner Intime Retail, while keeping a strategic partnership with Lianhua’s parent, department store owner Bailian.

Sun Art already has cooperation agreements with food-delivery giants Baidu Deliveries, and Meituan-Dianping.

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