Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba and Alipay parent Ant Financial have each invested RMB3bn (US$483m) into Koubei, a joint venture that will let consumers order and pay for local services in China using their smartphone, “with an initial focus on the food and beverage segment”.
“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,” the companies say.
“Users will be able to easily access Koubei through Ant Financial’s Alipay Wallet app and Alibaba’s Mobile Taobao app. 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.
“Koubei aims to build a local services ecosystem that will benefit consumers, merchants and third-party service providers. Alibaba’s food ordering and delivery business operating under the Tao Diandian brand and Ant Financial’s offline merchant resources will become a core part of Koubei’s operations.”
Alibaba and Ant Financial will each have a 50% equity stake in the venture and Samuel Fan from Ant Financial’s payment business unit will become CEO.
“Consolidating our resources under Koubei allows us to capture opportunities that navigate both the offline and online markets,” says Fan. “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.”