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© Letuve | Dreamstime.com - Alibaba Group e-commerce China

The sheer size of China’s logistics sector supporting its e-commerce market continues to raise eyebrows. The recent acquisition of a 10% stake in e-commerce fulfilment provider ZTO Express by Alibaba and Cainiao was worth a whopping $1.4bn. In this Logistics Trends & Insights blog, analyst Cathy Roberson goes behind the headline numbers to unpick the details of the deal and finds that it is actually ZTO’s international freight forwarding arm – acquired as recently as last year – which may offer Alibaba the greatest strategic potential. She says: “This acquisition could not only give ZTO Express a leg up on international deliveries it can also provide Alibaba and Cainiao a means of keeping packages within its network a little longer and ensure international capacity, perhaps at a more agreeable rate as negotiated by the forwarder, China Oriental Express.”

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