Chinese e-commerce logistics giant Alibaba is reportedly in talks to ramp up its shareholding in express delivery firm YTO.
According to a Reuters report, Alibaba is looking to become the largest shareholder in YTO, boosting its holding from 10% with additional stake up to 30%.
The news agency — quoting two unnamed sources — said that based on YTO’s current market value of $7bn, a 30% stake would be worth $2.1bn.
YTO is China’s third-largest express delivery firm by parcel volume, with a 14% share of the market in 2019.
Reuters said it was not clear if Alibaba would look to buy the sake in one go, or in several smaller packets.
However, a spokesperson dismissed the rumors as false.
Alibaba has been ramping up its presence in China’s fast growing express market over the last couple of years as the speed and quality of delivery becomes an important differentiator in the competitive world of e-commerce.
Most recently, the company took a 14% stake in STO Express Co Ltd, another major player in the Chinese delivery market.
The investment is a step forward in its pursuit of the goal of 24 hour delivery anywhere in China and 72 hours globally.
STO Express was Alibaba’s fourth investment in the Chinese courier sector after it acquired minority stakes in YTO Express Group Co Ltd, Best Inc and ZTO Express (Cayman) Inc.
Its logistics network is run through subsidiary, Cainiao, which provides software and shares data with warehouses, carriers and other logistics companies to deliver packages to shoppers on Tmall and Taobao, Alibaba’s largest e-commerce sites.