Alibaba Group Holdings Limited disclosed an additional $3.6 billion investment in Chinese supermarket operator Sun Art Retail Group on Sunday. The Chinese e-commerce giant will now hold a controlling interest with a 72% stake, including both direct and indirect holdings.

What Happened: Alibaba will acquire 70.94% equity in A-RT Retail Holdings from the parent company Auchan Retail International SA and its subsidiaries, and make a buyout offer for the balance stake to shareholders.

Sun Art’s hypermarkets are already integrated with Alibaba’s Taoxianda and Tmall portals, which offers one-hour delivery.

Why Does It Matter: Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang said the “strategic investment in Sun Art in 2017 was an important step in our New Retail strategy.”

According to HSBC, China’s grocery market could witness a 2.5 times growth rate by 2022, with a potential $103 billion market size, Bloomberg noted.

As of June-end, Sun Art controlled 481 hypermarkets and three mid-size supermarkets across China under the brands RT-Mart and Auchan.

Price Action: Alibaba stock closed 2.62% higher on Friday at $307.31 per share.

This story originally appeared on Benzinga.

© 2020 Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.

Nicolas Asfouri/AFP via Getty Images

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