OffSun Art Retail operates 446 “hypermarket complexes” in 224 cities across 29 provinces, regions and municipalities in China, under the RT-Mart and Auchan banners. As part of the deal, Alibaba formed a strategic alliance with Auchan Retail and .

is an international food retailer that operates in 17 countries. Auchan will hold a 36.18% stake in the venture while Ruentex will hold a 4.67% stake. Alibaba’s 36.16% stake in the venture was acquired from Ruentex.

Ruentex Group is led by billionaire and owns a wide range of businesses in the retail, property development, textile, insurance and biomedical industries.

Alibaba said the partnership is part of its “New Retail” strategy that integrates online and brick-and-mortar retailing into a cohesive strategy to boost sales and convenience. Two years ago, Alibaba decided to start its own chain of supermarkets called Hema, of which there are now 18. Hema is a chain of digitized physical supermarkets where shoppers use a mobile app for online orders and in-store purchases of groceries or freshly prepared foods, as well as to research products while shopping, and to pay digitally or with facial recognition.

Alibaba shares climbed 1.6% to close at 188 on the stock market today, near its record high of 191.22 set on Nov. 2. Alibaba shares have more than doubled in price this year.

IBD’S TAKE: Alibaba is on the IBD Leaderboard list of top-performing stocks, with an IBD Composite Rating of 99 out of a possible 99. The stock is getting solid buying support at the 50-day moving average.

In June, Alibaba agreed to purchase an 18% stake in Hong Kong-listed Lianhua Supermarket with the aim of boosting business efficiencies and enhancing customer experience. Alibaba also led a $300 million, D-round investment in, China’s largest online provider of fresh produce, in August.

In September, Alibaba announced plans to invest $15.2 billion over the next five years to strengthen and expand its global logistics and delivery network.

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