Atlas Asia Investment Partners comments as Alibaba moves into physical retail with the acquisition of a stake in a large Chinese department store operator. Atlas Asia Investment Partners has reported that, after years of offline, traditional retailers establishing online operations to take advantage of e-commerce, Chinese internet leviathan, Alibaba has taken the first tentative steps to reversing the trend by committing nigh on $700 million in return for a 35% stake in a Chinese department store group. 

The store operator, Intime Retail Group, runs 36 shopping centers and department stores across mainland China and the acquisition represents a hint at a change of thinking at Alibaba. "Alibaba is responsible for as much as 80% or all e-commerce in the country but many Chinese still prefer to shop in a more traditional fashion by going to a store" said an Atlas Asia Investment Partners analyst. "By acquiring the stake in Intime Retail Group, the company hopes to be able to give customers the option to collect goods and merchandise from a physical store," he continued. Alibaba says it intends to work closely with Intime in areas such as payment systems, enabling customers to use virtual prepaid cards or QR codes to buy merchandise in department stores. In addition,

 Alibaba plans to offer Intime's merchandise on its shopping platform, utilizing the department stores physical space as storerooms that would inevitably support online sales. Alibaba is pressing on with plans to list its stock on a US stock exchange in a floatation that, according to Atlas Asia Investment Partners could value the company at as much as $150 billion. "Clearly Alibaba is assembling what it needs to take on the likes of Tencent Holdings, its chief rival in the Chinese e-commerce market. We think the forthcoming IPO represents one of the most exciting technology investment opportunities since LinkedIn and will certainly be looking to acquire stock on behalf of clients," concluded the Atlas Asia Investment Partners analyst. 

About Atlas Asia Investment Partners Atlas Asia Investment Partners is a wealth management firm specialising in asset management services for small- to mid-capitalised companies and high net worth individuals. Our philosophy is to grow and protect our clients' wealth by investing in profitable investment opportunities and by employing long-term growth strategies, including investment management, financial planning, quantitative research and due diligence to deliver the highest level of customer service. We always take the time to fully understand your investment objectives, financial goals and tolerance to risk before we are ready to make a bespoke investment plan, as we know that financial planning must be based on a thorough knowledge of your individual circumstances. Our objective is deliver profitable risk-adjusted returns by following a process of rigorous research and due diligence.

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