Shanghai, Alibaba, and Ant Financial have signed a strategic cooperation agreement to boost the integrated development of the Yangtze River Delta. According to local media reports (in Chinese), under the new partnership agreement, Alibaba will ramp up its new retail efforts in Shanghai.
Alibaba founder Jack Ma revealed at the signing ceremony that Alibaba has been putting a heavy focus on the development of the Yangtze River Delta regions. Multiple Alibaba-owned businesses are headquartered in Shanghai, including O2O supermarket chain Hema Xiansheng and food delivery platform Ele.me. Alibaba’s mobile payment platform Alipay is also connected with Shanghai’s public service departments and is now capable of handling over a hundred civil affairs.
The company announced that it aims to bring new businesses, technology, products, and business models to Shanghai. It has selected the city as the location for Tmall’s global product launch. Alibaba also plans to boost O2O retail development and will put special focus on traditional retail and preserving age-old brands.
Alibaba’s financial affiliate Ant Financial also will accelerate the deployment of mobile payment network in Shanghai and will continue to support the annual Shanghai Shopping Festival as an official strategic partner. The fintech company also plans to help the city build an innovative financial center leveraging its blockchain and mobile payment capabilities. Ant Financial entered a strategic cooperation agreement with Shanghai Pudong Development Bank in May to support the bank’s digital transformation.
In July, regions in China’s Yangtze delta—including China’s financial hub Shanghai and manufacturing-focused Zhejiang and Jiangsu, and the province of Anhui—kicked off a three-year action plan to integrate their economies. The government has launched an RMB 100 billion fund to support technology development and others development efforts in the region.
The city of Shanghai and Alibaba Group’s tie-up dates back to 2015, and the e-commerce giant has been investing heavily in the city’s e-commerce, finance, technology, logistics and among other areas.