China’s property to leisure group Dalian Wanda Group has given a launch to the e-commerce site with which it intends to compete with market leader Alibaba.
The operation appears designed to drive consumers to local goods and services and is an open platform that third party vendors can use in a similar fashion to Alibaba’s business to business and business-to-consumer reach. In many cases shoppers will be directed to collect goods at Wanda’s nationwide network of malls and department stores. At this stage the site is only proposing two categories – food and dining, and movies, allowing online booking of tickets at the Wanda Cinema Line theater chain.
More categories are expected to be launched and Wanda has suggested that it could have 100 million loyalty scheme members by the end of the year.
The move into e-commerce was announced a year ago when the three groups pledged to invest $814 million. Since then they have also attracted a further $161 million of venture capital.
Wanda has repeatedly stated an ambition to expand into cultural, leisure and tourism activities and in the last year has bought stakes in Atletico Madrid soccer club, European sports rights firm Infront and its separately listed Wanda Cinema Line subsidiary has bought Hoyts, Australia’s second biggest multiplex chain.
The group also operates malls, hotels, resorts and theme parks.