May 20, 2020

Alibaba invests $486mn in Shiji Retail Information Tech Co

1 min
Alibaba invests $486mn in Shiji Retail Information Tech Co

Alibaba Group Holding is investing $486mn for a stake in Shiji Retail Information Technology Co, it has been reported.

Alibaba will take a 38% in Shiji, which is described as a big data firm which focusses on the retail and hospitality sector.


See also:

Tencent Holdings agrees investment in Carrefour with Yonghui

Alibaba partners with Auchan

Alibaba leads BigBasket funding round


This is part of Alibaba’s investment into its online-to-offline offering, which Reuters estimated to total around $10bn in brick-and-mortar business to date.

The tech giant’s subsidiary Alibaba Investment will take part in the deal.

This is not the first investment by Alibaba in the firm, with its subsidiary Taobao (China) Software Co having invested $446.3mn in a 15% stake in Shiji in 2014.

The investment marks another step in the online to offline war between Chines technology mainstays Alibaba and Tencent. Other recent investments by Alibaba have included Indian online grocer BigBasket, as well as a partnership with French retailer Auchan. It has also reportedly been in talks with US grocery company Kroger.

Meanwhile, Tencent has invested in French grocer Carrefour.

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Jun 8, 2021

Timeline: India takes unicorn leap with six in five days

Kate Birch
2 min
We chart an historic week in India’s startup tech industry, where from April 5-9 the country achieved six unicorns

We chart an historic week in India’s tech industry, where in just five days, between 5-9 April 2021, the country achieved six new unicorns, bringing India’s total to 10 in 2021 to date, an immense unicorn leap from just seven in 2020 and six in 2019.

April 5: Meesho

India’s first social commerce unicorn, Meesho raised US$300m from SoftBank, Facebook and Shunwei Capital, giving the Bangalore-based startup a US$2.1bn valuation, a threefold jump from its previous funding round in 2019. Founded in 2015 by two IIT-Delhi graduates, Meesho connects producers and resellers, helping small businesses sell through social media. It has 45m customers and has enabled 13m entrepreneurs to start their online businesses with no investment.

April 6: CRED

Founded just over two years ago, Bangalore-based credit card repayment app CRED raised US$215m from Falcon Edge Capital and Coatue, nearly trebling its valuation to US$2.2bn from its January US$80m round. Allowing customers to pay off their credit card debt while earning CRED coins which they cash in for rewards, CRED has grown rapidly during COVID-19, doubling its customer base to nearly 6 million in a year.

April 7: API Holdings / Groww

The first epharmacy startup to gain unicorn status, PharmEasy (API Holdings), which has digitised 60,000 brick and mortar pharmacies and 400 doctors across India, raised US$350m in a round led by Prosus Ventures. Founded by four former Flipkart employees as a way of making investing simple, investment platform Groww became India’s second-youngest fintech unicorn, raising US$83m in Series D funding led by Tiger Global, quadrupling its previous round in September.

April 8: ShareChat

New Delhi-grown social media startup ShareChat, founded in 2016 by Mohalla Tech raised US$502m from Lightspeed Ventures, Tiger Global, Twitter and Snap taking its raised total over six rounds to US$766m and pushing its valuation to US$2.1bn. The funding will be used to grow its user base and short video platform Moj, which launched in 2020 following TikTok’s ban in India. The regional language startup claims 280m users.

April 9: Gupshup

AI-led conversational message startup joined the unicorn club after raising US$100m from Tiger Global giving it a ten-fold valuation of US$1.4bn. The smart messaging platform, which has seen accelerated growth during the pandemic, was founded in Bangalore in 2005 by serial entrepreneur Beerud Sheth, whose online freelancing platform Elance is now listed. Gupshup’s API enables 100,000+ businesses to build messaging and conversation experiences across 30+ communication channels. 


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