Alibaba invests $486 million in hotel tech company Shiji

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Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. is China's biggest e-commerce company. Photo credit: Alibaba Group Holding

Hotel and retail system provider Shiji Information Technology has landed a $486 million investment deal from China’s biggest e-commerce company, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. The company will buy a 38-percent stake in Shiji Retail Information Technology Co via its subsidiary Alibaba Investment Ltd. 

Shiji has been on the scene for almost 20 years but has expanded rapidly in the past decade to become a serious player in hotel information systems. More recently, it has branched out into food and beverage and other tech services for retail brands, with more than 3,000 employees located in sites in China as well as Singapore and Munich. 

Beijing Shiji Information provides software and data systems to hotel groups such as InterContinental Hotels Group, retailers such as Starbucks Corp, and entertainment companies. The company said it currently supports more than 12,000 hotel clients and 150,000 catering clients.

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This is not the first business relationship between Alibaba and Shiji. In March 2014, Shiji started working with Alibaba to enhance cooperation in the hospitality information systems field, within a strategic partnership agreement. In part, the arrangement dealt with hotel system connections, credit stay, membership service platform connections and scanpay. Shiji has completed direct connections with more than 11,000 hotels for Ali Fliggy Trip and credit stay celebrated its initial deployment for 11,000 hotels in June 2017.

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The company expects to open more than 30 new Comfort properties in the market by 2033 via its existing franchising agreement with Choice Hotels Japan.

While consolidated revenue for the quarter was up 10.9 percent as reported, it was up 4.1 percent on a like-for-like basis compared to Q3 2018.

Sam Schwartz has spent more than four years with First Hospitality, including most recently as a general manager.