Suning.com sold a 23% stake in a nearly RMB 15 billion ($2.39 billion) deal and rival Gome Retail raised HK$4.5 billion through private placement. Tencent invested in the Chinese operations of Canadian coffee chain Tim Hortons. Alibaba and Pinduoduo were recognized for their poverty alleviation efforts.

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China’s e-commerce and retail market offers a fire hose of products, choices, business models, rapidly changing content, and more. Here’s what you need to know about China’s online retail market for the week of Feb.25 – March 3.

Home appliance titans

  • Suning.com, the Chinese household appliance and electronics online seller, sold a 23% stake to Shenzhen-based state-owned companies in a deal worth RMB 14.82 billion ($2.28 billion). (TechNode)
  • Franchise partners that run stores under Suning.com’s “Retail Cloud” platform plan to add 300 more new locations to its existing 8,000 outlets. (Ebrun, in Chinese)
  • Suning archrival Gome Retail announced Tuesday that it raised HK$4.5 billion through private placement to bankroll its online and offline expansion. The firm said on Monday it had redeemed RMB 484 million in bonds issued in 2018. (Donews, in Chinese)
  • Youzan Technology, a subsidiary of loss-making e-commerce service provider Youzan, filed its paperwork for a public listing on the main board of the Hong Kong stock exchange via introduction. Shares for its other arm, Tencent- and Baidu-backed Youzan China, will be taken private after the share transfer from Hong Kong’s growth enterprise market, where it listed in 2018. (Lanjing, in Chinese)

Coffee craze continues

  • Tencent participated in a round of funding for the Chinese arm of Canadian coffee and snack chain Tim Hortons. The amount raised was not disclosed. (TechCrunch)
  • Genki Forest, a popular Chinese beverage firm, has become the biggest shareholder of Never Coffee. After the deal, Genki Forest will hold a 51% stake in the specialty coffee and e-commerce platform. (Pandaily)

Poverty alleviation

  • Chinese e-commerce heavyweights Alibaba and Pinduoduo are listed among 1,500 outstanding institutions awarded for their contributions to the state’s efforts to fight poverty. The award were extended to commemorate China’s “complete victory” over “absolute poverty” as announced by Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday. Meanwhile, Cheng Wei, founder of ride-hailing app Didi Chuxing, was recognized individually for efforts to support the initiative. (KrAsia)
  • Alibaba and New Hope Group, an agricultural products manufacturing company, are discussing collaboration on an e-commerce project that aims to solve key problems in the agricultural industry. The program will train 200,000 farmers in the next three years. (Ifeng, in Chinese)

Ed tech

  • Chinese online tutoring platform Vipkid said that it expects to reach profitability this year. (TechNode)
  • Chinese online education platform GSX Techedu said that an internal investigation it initiated in response to accusations of fraud from a group of US short sellers in 2020 discovered no evidence of financial misdoing. (GSX statement)

Market metrics

  • Market value for 74 listed Chinese e-commerce companies reached RMB 10.94 trillion in 2020, a jump from 2019 when 66 which were valued at RMB 6.45 trillion, according to a report from research and intelligence agency 100ec.cn. The market cap of Alibaba, Meituan, and Pinduoduo totaled RMB 6.99 trillion in 2020, accounting for more than 60% of the overall figure. (Ebrun, in Chinese)
  • The market size of China’s business-to-business cross-border e-commerce sector reached RMB 3.7 trillion in 2019, according to Monday report by research agency iResearch. The sector accounts for 74.1% of China’s cross-border e-commerce market. The figure is expected to hit RMB 4.5 trillion in 2020, and further jump to RMB 5.7 billion in 2021. (iResearch, in Chinese)

Emma Lee

Emma Lee (Li Xin) was TechNode's e-commerce and new retail reporter until June 2022, when she moved to Sixth Tone to cover technology and consumption. Get in touch with her via lixin@sixthtone.com or Twitter.