China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba and its finance affiliate Ant Financial are each investing CNY3 billion ($483 million) in a venture called Koubei that facilitates local shopping and dining services.
The location-based initiative with Zhejiang Ant Small & Micro Financial Services Group will initially focus on the food and beverage sector, the companies said in a statement.
Bloomberg said the investment may reinvigorate Koubei, which previously operated through Taobao, Alibaba’s retail marketplace.
Ant Financial runs Alipay, which is China’s largest mobile payments platform.
Alibaba has been pushing to expand beyond e-commerce into “online to offline” commerce, which covers local services that allow customers to order and pay for goods and services using their smartphones.
Alibaba has been an active investor in tech startups recently. Last week Alibaba and Foxconn reportedly were discussing investing around $500 million jointly in Snapdeal, an Indian e-commerce startup.
In March Alibaba said it was looking to invest $200 million in Snapchat, a mobile app that sends photos and messages that disappear after a few seconds. The same month it also led a round of funding that raised $60 million for Quixey, a mobile search engine that includes content within apps.