Alibaba continues its offline offensive after buying stake in supermarket chain

, operator of the world’s largest ecommerce platform, is to purchase a stake in Lianhua Supermarket chain as part of the brand’s ‘new retail’ strategy.

Alibaba will take an 18% stake in Lianhua, which is one of China’s leading supermarket chains and is owned by retail giant Bailian Group. The deal sees Alibaba become the second-largest shareholder in Lianhua, which has over 3,600 stores across China.

The investment expands on Alibaba’s collaboration with Bailian Group after the two companies signed a strategic partnership in February to…