Alibaba Makes Itself at Home With Furnishing Startup Investment
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. said that it has invested in furnishing services startup Many Craftsmen, another move into home improvement for the e-commerce giant.
Alibaba’s statement announcing the deal did not disclose the financial details.
Many Craftsmen will use the funding to train its employees, improve its management and expand its network of service centers around the country, according to the Monday statement.
The furniture services provider will also now partner with Alibaba’s business-to-consumer platform Tmall to offer at-home furniture assembly and repairs.
Founded in August, Many Craftsmen also controls Network of Lights Nanny, a provider of services related to domestic lighting — including repairs, cleaning and remodeling — in over 300 cities. Founded in 2002, Network of Lights Nanny contracts its jobs out to a workforce of around 10,000 tradespeople each day.
This investment is Alibaba’s latest in a string of tie-ups in the lucrative home furnishings sector.
Industry research platform Iyiou estimated the industry would be worth about 4.49 trillion yuan this year, up 2.2% from the previous year.
Last year in February, Alibaba bought a 15% stake in Easyhome, one of China’s leading traditional home improvement chains, for 5.45 billion yuan.
In November, the company invested $25 million in online home renovation platform 007 eService.
Alibaba isn’t the only tech giant expanding into the industry. In October its rival, social media behemoth Tencent Holdings Ltd., entered a strategic partnership with Red Star Macalline, a furniture store and shopping mall operator.
Contact reporter Tang Ziyi (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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