Alibaba invests RMB3 billion in new local services venture

Alibaba and Ant Financial Services Group (螞蟻金服) will each invest RMB3 billion and resources to set up a joint venture, Koubei (口碑), targeting China’s local services market with an initial focus on the food and beverage segment.

The joint venture will integrate mobile commerce and big data to transform and upgrade China’s local services sector which aims to enhance dining and shopping experiences, according to a statement from Alibaba.

Alibaba and Ant Financial will each have a 50% equity stake in Koubei.

Taodiandian (淘点点), a food ordering and delivery business owned by Alibaba, and Ant Financial’s offline merchant resources, will become a core part of Koubei’s operations.

Samuel Fan from Ant Financial’s payment business unit will become CEO of the new venture.

“Consolidating our resources under Koubei allows us to capture opportunities that navigate both the offline and online markets,” said Samuel Fan, CEO of Koubei.

“Harnessing the power of mobile commerce and data technology, Koubei will build synergies between offline consumption and internet-based offerings that will transform China’s local services market.”

At the start, Koubei’s business will focus on offline consumption opportunities in the food and beverage segment and over time, Ant Financial’s merchant services in the areas of offline retail, healthcare and vending machines will be consolidated into the joint venture.

As a platform company, Koubei will enable local merchants to access mobile payment solutions and launch local marketing and promotion campaigns to reach a wide user base. The platform aims to build a local services ecosystem that will benefit consumers, merchants and third-party service providers.

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