Caixin
Dec 20, 2017 05:40 PM
BUSINESS & TECH

Wanda, Suning in Capital Tie-Up

Suning Commerce Group announced that it plans to add 15,000 stores to its current 4,000 within three years — a vote of confidence in the future of China's brick-and-mortar businesses. Photo: Visual China
Suning Commerce Group announced that it plans to add 15,000 stores to its current 4,000 within three years — a vote of confidence in the future of China's brick-and-mortar businesses. Photo: Visual China

Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group Co. Ltd. will engage in capital cooperation “on a large scale” next year with retailer Suning Commerce Group, Wanda Chairman Wang Jianlin said.

Capital cooperation can involve mutual investment and the establishment of joint ventures, but Wang did not specify what form the Wanda-Suning tie-up will take.

The capital partnership comes at a time when both companies are planning on massive store expansions, reflecting their faith in China’s brick-and-mortar businesses.

Wanda will run 1,000 shopping malls — almost five times its current portfolio — within 10 years, with a presence in 90% of Chinese cities, Wang said during a Suning event in Nanjing on Tuesday.

Wanda has suffered “very little and even no impact from e-commerce in recent years,” Wang said.

Suning on the same day revealed ambitious plans to add 15,000 locations to its current 4,000 stores in three years.

Suning announced on Tuesday that it is teaming up with about 30 Chinese property companies, including Wanda, Evergrande, Sunac and Country Garden, to reach that target.

Wang said that offline retail seems to “have re-boomed as many Internet enterprises and giants have shifted their focus toward offline expansion” in the past two years.

E-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. has been consistently stepping into store operators, throwing cash into Suning and supermarket chain Lianhua. Internet and social guru Tencent Holdings Ltd. has taken a bite in superstore brand Yonghui.

The trend is in line with Beijing’s official call for capital to give greater support to real economic activities.

Wang said that Wanda’s strategy to survive in the internet era is to position itself as a social center, highlight shopping experiences, add cultural elements to malls and integrate online with offline.

Shares of Shenzhen-listed Suning rose 3.15% on Wednesday. Wanda’s commercial property subsidiary delisted from Hong Kong last year and is planning to go public on the Chinese mainland.

Contact reporter Coco Feng (renkefeng@caixin.com)

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