Alibaba will reportedly invest $1.25 billion in Ele.me, a food delivery service based in Shanghai, says financial news site Caixin (link via Google Translate). The deal would Alibaba the startup’s biggest shareholder, with a 27.7 percent stake.
According to Crunchbase, Ele.me has raised about $1.09 billion dollars. Its list of investors is noteworthy because it includes Alibaba rivals Tencent and JD.com. Ele.me’s largest round, a $630 million Series F, was announced in August.
TechCrunch has contacted Alibaba and Ele.me for comment.
If the deal goes through, it strengthens Alibaba’s O2O strategy. O2O, which can stand for online-to-offline or offline-to-online, is shorthand for the business of convincing e-commerce customers to spend money at offline businesses or, on the other hand, getting customers who usually shop in brick-and-mortar stores to make online purchases.
Alibaba’s other O2O investments include its affiliate Alipay, China’s largest mobile payments platform, electronics retail chain Suning, and taxi app Didi Kuaidi.