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Business

China's Alibaba pledges billions for global expansion

Chinese e-commerce firm Alibaba already ranks alongside Amazon and Walmart as one of the world's largest retailers. Its latest announcement of a major logistics investment and takeover shows the scale of its ambitions.

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group has taken a majority stake in logistics firm Cainiao and will spend more than 100 billion yuan ($15.2 billion, €12.9 billion) on expanding its global network over the next five years, the company announced on Tuesday.

The online retailer, which provides multiple sales services and platforms across the web such as Taobao and Tmall, saw its revenues swell by 56 percent in the second quarter of 2017 and Tuesday's announcement is part of a much-publicized plan by the retailer to greatly expand and strengthen its already extensive global reach.

The firm's growth has been centered in its core e-commerce business - driven by powerful demand from Chinese consumers increasingly drawn online - as well as by its cloud computing and entertainment divisions.

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Alibaba previously held 47 percent of Cainiao and the now $807-million investment  - which values the logistics firm at around $20 billion - will take Alibaba's stake to 51 percent and give it direct control over the company and enable it to refine its logistics operations.

Meanwhile, the planned $15.2 billion investment is a reflection of Alibaba's rapid growth in recent years and its status as one of the world's largest retailers and internet companies. 

Cementing its powerful position

"Our goal with this investment is to provide comprehensive, first-class experience for consumers globally," said CEO Daniel Zhang in a statement posted on the group's website.

"Our commitment to Cainiao and additional investment in logistics demonstrate Alibaba's commitment to building the most-efficient logistic network in China and around the world."

Read more: China's online population growing fast

As for the planned $15.2 billion investment, the group said that the money will be primarily directed towards logistics data technology and its warehousing and delivery market.

The scale of the investment plan underlines Alibaba's intentions to cement its control of the increasingly competitive Chinese online retail market and to position itself for continued global expansion in the years ahead.

Founded by billionaire e-commerce icon Jack Ma in 1999, Alibaba now ranks comfortably alongside global retail superpowers Amazon and Walmart by most metrics.

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aos/sri (Alibaba, Reuters)

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