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Wanda joins forces with Baidu and Tencent


The Dalian Wanda Group, the Chinese real estate, cinema and retail conglomerate controlled by the billionaire Wang Jianlin, announced on Friday that it would enter the e-commerce industry in an $800 million partnership with Baidu and Tencent, two of China’s biggest Internet companies.


The move by Dalian Wanda, which is known simply as Wanda and is one of China’s biggest developers of shopping malls, appears to be aimed at the Alibaba Group, China’s dominant e-commerce company, which is expected to make its initial public offering in New York in a matter of weeks in a deal that could be one of the biggest I.P.O.s on record.


Wanda, which in 2012 paid $2.6 billion for AMC Entertainment, a cinema operator in the United States, said it would control 70 percent of a planned Hong Kong company called Wanda E-Commerce, in which Baidu and Tencent would each hold a stake of 15 percent. The three partners plan to invest 5 billion renminbi, or about $811 million, in the first phase of their cooperation on so-called online-to-offline business ventures.


Mr. Wang said online-to-offline is the biggest opportunity in e-commerce, according to a transcript of his speech at a briefing in Shenzhen posted on Sina.com. “There’s no true online-to-offline platform in China, and in this situation, everyone’s chances are equal.”


The three companies plan to leverage shoppers at Wanda’s nationwide chain of 107 malls and department stores by cross-marketing promotions and memberships to the hundreds of millions of people who use online search, social networking and payment processing services provided by Baidu and Tencent.


In tying up with Wanda, Tencent brings to the table its Tenpay online payment business, as well as access to the 438 million monthly active users of WeChat, its popular mobile messaging service. Baidu, often described as China’s answer to Google, adds its dominance of Internet searches in China.



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