Alibaba Invests $678.5 Million in Courier STO Express

The e-commerce giant has backed a number of China's large couriers over the past few years, increasing its market share in the logistics industry.

Author: Belinda Zhou   

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (NYSE: BABA) has acquired a stake in yet another Chinese logistics provider, STO Express Co. Ltd., for $678.5 million.

The e-commerce giant bought a 49 percent stake in a new entity, part-owned by Shanghai Deyin Investment Holding Co. Ltd., a shareholder in STO Express. The deal gave Alibaba 14 percent ownership in STO Express, according to media reports.

Alibaba has been expanding its market share in China's logistics industry by backing a number of large-scale couriers in the country over the past years. So far, the company has backed YTO Express Group Co. Ltd., Best Inc. (NYSE: BEST), and ZTO Express (Cayman) Inc. (NYSE: ZTO).

Alibaba's own shipments for its core business - e-commerce - has been run by Cainiao Smart Logistics Network Ltd. Cainiao provides real-time access to data for merchants to better manage their inventory and warehousing, for consumers to track their orders, and for express courier companies to optimize delivery routes.

Cainiao competes with major players in China's logistics industry including Shenzhen-based SF Express Co. Ltd., which operates SF Airlines, as well as JD Logistics, the transportation unit of second-largest retailer giant, Inc. (Nasdaq: JD).

The stock in Alibaba was trading 13 cents higher intraday Tuesday, at $175.19 per American depositary share. Shares in ZTO were down 1 percent, at $19.51 apiece. Best was trading at $5.57 per ADS, down 2 percent intraday.