Alibaba tipped to buy RT-Mart China

Chinese eCommerce giant Alibaba Group has declined to comment on Chinese media reports that it plans to acquire the mainland division of Taiwan supermarket chain RT-Mart.

Stocks for the Sun Art Retail Group, the parent company of China’s RT-Mart backed by Taiwan textile business Ruentex, rose to their highest value in two years following the reports.

If the reports prove to be true, it would be wedding the largest eCommerce enterprise in the world with China’s top retailer, says The China Post. Reports cited a former employee who claimed Alibaba and Sun Art Retail Group had been discussing the deal but had not yet reached an agreement.

A December survey by research group Kantar Worldpanel shows the Sun Art group has about 7.8 per cent of the Chinese retail market share, followed by Vanguard at 6.3 per cent and Walmart at 5 per cent.

As well as RT-Mart, Sun Art owns retail chain Auchan. The group has more than 420 supermarkets, 68 per cent of which are rented locations. It plans to expand to 98 more outlets in the next three years, of which 88 are already under construction.

Sun Art Retail Group has also been trying to grow its eCommerce business, boasting more than 16.3 million registered users last June.

RT-Mart China chairman Peter Huang says he hopes the eCommerce arm will become a new driver for growth.

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