Alibaba to invest US$716 million in Huitongda Network Co to develop rural areas
Alibaba Group said today it will invest 4.5 billion yuan (US$716 million) in Huitongda Network Co, a rural e-commerce subsidiary of Jiangsu Five Star Appliances Co, to drive sustainable development of rural areas.
The two parties will collaborate on supply chain, logistics and technology to upgrade e-commerce infrastructure in the rural areas.
Huitongda has been serving rural customers in financial services, supply chain management and sales support. The company has about 80,000 franchised stores in rural areas serving 200 million people.
Alibaba now hosts about one million rural e-commerce entrepreneurs and annual sales of agricultural products on its platform exceed 100 billion yuan.
Connecting rural merchandise with Internet shoppers has been one of Alibaba's key strategies and last year, the e-commerce giant created a 10 billion yuan poverty relief fund to focus on education, rural healthcare, empowering women and environmental protection.