Tencent and JD.com each take minority stakes in Chinese retail group Better Life

By Catherine Shu for TC

Long-time collaborators Tencent Holdings and JD.com have each bought minority stakes in Better Life, a Chinese retail conglomerate. According to a filing made on Friday by Better Life, which is traded on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, Tencent paid 886.9 million RMB (about $140 million) for a 6% stake, while JD.com took a 5% stake for 739.1 million RMB ($117 million).

This is the second time in the past few months that Tencent and JD.com, which formed an alliance about four years ago to take on Alibaba Group, have poured funds into the same retail company. In December, the two invested a total of $863 million in Vipshop, an e-commerce business that focuses mostly on fashion.

Based in Xiangtan, Hunan Province, Better Life’s businesses include department stores, supermarkets and convenience stores.

Alibaba and Tencent are busy building their brick-and-mortar retail investments to increase the number of stores that use their competing mobile payment services and e-commerce platforms. Since the start of 2017, the two rivals have put a combined total of $10 billioninto brick-and-mortar stores, according to Reuters, focusing on supermarket chains and big box retailers. Tencent’s portfolio includes Carrefour, Yonghui Superstores, Heilan Home and Wanda Commercial, while Alibaba has backed Suning.com, Intime Retail, Sanjiang Shopping Club, Lianhua Supermarket, Wanda Film and Easyhome.