After weeks of reports and speculations around a potential deal, Alibaba Group has confirmed the acquisition of NetEase Kaola for a reported $2 billion. The Chinese e-commerce business will be integrated into Tmall, forming the largest cross-border e-commerce platform in the region.
As part of the deal, Tmall Import and Export general manager Alvin Liu will become Kaola’s new CEO, replacing Zhang Lei. The business, however, will continue to operate independently under its own brand.
Both Tmall Global and Kaola are China’s largest and second-largest cross-border e-commerce platforms and currently hold 31.7% and 24.5% of the market. The integration will make them the dominant player, outsizing rivals such as JD Worldwide, VIP International and Amazon China.
“We are pleased to have found a strategic fit for Kaola within Alibaba’s extensive ecosystem, where Kaola will continue to provide Chinese consumers with high-quality import products and services. At the same time, the completion of this strategic transaction will allow NetEase to focus on its growth strategy, investing in markets that allow us to best leverage our competitive advantages,” said NetEase CEO William Ding.
“Alibaba is confident about the future of China’s import e-commerce market, which we believe remains in its infancy with great growth potential,” added Daniel Zhang, CEO of Alibaba Group.