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Alibaba expected to invest $80m in US e-commerce retailer Boxed

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Alibaba is close to making another big investment in a U.S. e-commerce company.

The Chinese e-commerce giant is in talks to invest around $80 million in Boxed, a New York City-based shopping app that sells bulk-size groceries and household goods and ships them to customers, according to a source. The final number may come in a bit below or above that number, this person said, and there's still an outside chance that the deal won't happen.

An Alibaba spokesman declined to comment. Boxed CEO Chieh Huang didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. Bloomberg first reported the talks.

If a deal is struck, it would mark Alibaba's second investment this year in a U.S. e-commerce startup. Earlier this year, it invested in, the e-commerce marketplace that is offering discounts on a wide range of goods thanks to a unique system that optimizes orders for shipping efficiency.

Alibaba founder Jack Ma has repeatedly said his company is not interested in competinghead-on with Amazon and eBay in the U.S. anytime soon, but it appears he is comfortable with funding ones that do. His company has also continued to make investments in a wide range of U.S. companies across industries, including the ride-hailing service Lyft and the messaging app Tango.

Boxed has raised more than $30 million from investors including First Round Capital and GGV Capital. The company sells the type of bulk products that would typically be found at a warehouse club like Costco — think 32-ounce tubs of hummus, 54-bag packs of chips or 44-ounce bottles of shampoo. But unlike Costco, there is no membership fee and orders of $50 or more are shipped free.

Source : Jason Del Rey - Re/ via CNBC

09 November 2015

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