Just a few weeks ago, Alibaba Group Holding Limited made headlines by sinking $1 billion USD into Southeast Asian e-commerce startup Lazada. Today, the Chinese tech giant made another round of investments via its Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund, continuing its expansion beyond mainland China.
Three Hong Kong startups will receive minority investments from Alibaba to help scale their businesses: Yeechoo, an online fashion rental startup, GoGoVan, an on-demand logistics company, and Shopline, an e-commerce platform for merchants.
“Alibaba is the world’s largest e-commerce company with expertise in payment, logistics and cloud services that are all core to e-commerce,” said Shopline CEO and cofounder Tony Wong in a post on Alibaba’s official blog, Alizila. “This will help us strengthen our market positioning in Hong Kong and Taiwan, and fuel the next stage of our growth.”
Alibaba announced the launch of its Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund last November, valued at HK$1 billion (about $129 million USD). The fund is dedicated to Hong Kong startups working in industries relevant to Alibaba’s various businesses: e-commerce, logistics, mobile, cloud computing and finance. Alibaba also launched its Taiwan Entrepreneurs Fund on the same day, valued at $10 billion NT (about $309 million USD).
Created in hopes of “unleash[ing] potential for innovation and entrepreneurship,” Alibaba will no doubt leverage these funds to usher more startups into the Alibaba ecosystem. As the tech giant’s appetite for markets outside of mainland China grows, making strategic investments across Asia will be crucial. Other Chinese tech giants, such as Tencent, have employed the same expansion strategy. In 2015, Tencent invested in multiple startups across various verticals, including healthcare, transportation, and education.
In addition to its Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund, Alibaba is also “working closely with local incubators and universities in Hong Kong,” according to the company’s statement. Alibaba plans to invest in further startups and is accepting applications to its Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund on a rolling basis.