Alibaba invests in rural e-commerce

Alibaba will invest $717.2 million in rural e-commerce platform startup Huitongda. The investment is part of Alibaba’s plan to expand its rural presence and sales outside major cities. In late 2014, Alibaba launched its Rural Taobao strategy to provide an e-commerce platform and logistics infrastructure for rural residents. Founded in 2008, Huitongda is a Chinese logistics e-commerce service company serving rural consumers. Alibaba will work with Huitongda to expand its rural reach and boost the provision of supply chain logistics, warehousing and technology services in rural markets. Almost half of China’s population still live in rural areas.