Alibaba’s $2 billion takeover of key rival Kaola could be completed as early as this week following weeks of speculation surrounding the deal.
Kaola is Alibaba’s biggest international retail rival, representing 24.5 per cent of the market compared to the Alibaba-owned Tmall’s 31.7 per cent.
The potential takeover, announced last month, would see the two entities merge to create a overwhelmingly dominant entity in the sector, with a combined market share dramatically overshadowing nearest rival JD.com’s 11.5 per cent and Amazon’s six per cent.
Today Chinese news publication 36kr reported that the deal could be completed this week, but would see Koala continue to run independently.
Kaola is an ecommerce platform owned by NetEase, another Chinese tech giant specialising in gaming and content.
NetEase has reportedly been trying to sell its Kaola platform for around a year, with Amazon’s Chinese joint venture exploring a possible merger earlier this year before having to scrap the deal when pulling out of China in July.
Unlike Alibaba’s Tmall and Taobao platforms which act as a marketplace for third-party sellers, Kaola buys inventory directly from brands overseas.
It imports from over 4300 brands across 50 countries, though this was a sharp decrease on the 5000 brands seen a year earlier.