(Adds details, Yonghui market cap)
HONG KONG/SHANGHAI, Dec 11 (Reuters) - Chinese tech giant
Tencent Holdings Ltd plans to buy a 5 percent stake in
Yonghui Superstores Co Ltd, the department store
operator said on Monday, in the latest push by China's internet
giants into offline retail.
The investment, which will be made through Tencent affiliate
Linzhi Tencent Technology, will also see the firm take a 15
percent stake in Yonghui's supply chain and logistics subsidiary
via a capital increase, the retailer said.
The deal follows a major push by Tencent rival Alibaba Group
Holding Ltd into brick-and-mortar retail, including
taking a $2.9 billion stake in top Chinese grocery chain Sun Art
Retail Group Ltd last month.
Details of the deal, including price and stake sellers,
remain under discussion, Yonghui added in a filing to the
Shanghai bourse. Yonghui's market cap was 93.6 billion yuan
($14.14 billion) when its shares were suspended on Friday.
Tencent was not immediately available for comment outside of
normal business hours.
Trading in Yonghui's stock will remain suspended after being
halted on Friday when the firm's shares jumped the daily limit
of 10 percent on media reports of Tencent's investment.
The move by Tencent takes it into closer competition with
rival Alibaba, which is looking to extend its grip over online
commerce into physical stores. In China, 85 percent of retail
sales are still made offline.
In the past couple of years, Alibaba has spent over $10
billion for major stakes in big-box retailer Suning Commerce
Group Co Ltd, Lianhua Supermarket Holdings Co Ltd
and Intime Retail Group Co Ltd.
Yonghui, founded in 2001, says it has close to 600
supermarkets in around 20 provinces in China. The firm's major
investors include Dairy Farm Group, part of conglomerate Jardine
($1 = 6.6175 Chinese yuan renminbi)
(Reporting by Meg Shen in HONG KONG and Adam Jourdan in
SHANGHAI; Additional reporting by Cate Cadell; Editing by Adrian
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