1 More China Unicorn Is Born With Alibaba’s Funding Of Food Delivery App

alibaba elemeAt a time when some Chinese startups are being squeezed by tighter venture capital, Shanghai-based food delivery service Ele.me has soared past unicorn status and reportedly raised the large sum of $1.25 billion from Alibaba.

The new investment follows two previous large financings in 2015 for Ele.me: $350 million Tencent, JD.com, Sequoia Capital and CITIC Private Equity followed by $630 million in August from these same investors plus Chinese retailer Hualian Group and private equity firm Gopher Asset.

China’s tech titans are increasingly investing in online-to-offline (020) services such as taxi hailing and restaurant review apps that link smartphone users with offline businesses. Alibaba’s investments in these type services include China’s popular taxi app Didi Kuaidi. With this latest agreement, Alibaba would become the largest shareholder in Ele.me with a 27.7 percent stake.

Even as China’s economic growth heads toward a slower-growth era not seen since the late 1970s, billionaire Chairman Jack Ma has been aggressively pursuing acquisitions as has rivals Tencent, Baidu and JD.com. Alibaba has participated in nearly $15 billion of deals as of the end of the third quarter, about triple the number for all of 2014, according to Bloomberg.

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