Let's get physical! Alibaba buys Intime

Jack Ma is set to spend $2.6 billion to take Intime Retail Group private, moving to boost Alibaba’s physical presence as part of its online-to-offline strategy.

Alibaba is the world’s largest online marketplace. But the company’s founder Jack Ma, no longer content with dominating e-commerce, has been making efforts to bolster the physical presence of his company.

That effort took a step forward this week when Alibaba unveiled a HK$19.8 billion $2.6 billion bid for Hong Kong-listed shopping mall operator Intime Retail Group.

Alibaba is following the path of US e-commerce giant Amazon, which announced plans to open 100 pop-up stores by the end of this year in an attempt to reverse the once online-only business model. Amazon believes these stores will offer a physical browsing experience to customers...

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