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Intime-Alibaba partnership nets 5m users

2014-06-18 16:04 chinadaily.com.cn Web Editor: Qin Dexing

An online membership product jointly launched by department store operator Intime Retail (Group) Co Ltd and e-commerce conglomerate Alibaba Group Holding Ltd has showed strong potential for developing online-to-offline business by gaining 5 million users within 100 days.

According to a press release from Intime Retail on Wednesday, the virtual membership card named Yintaibao helped Intime gain more than 5 million users, which is as many as three times of those who hold Intime's offline VIP memberships.

Chen Xiaodong, CEO of Intime Retail Group, said that traditional plastic membership cards cannot fully satisfy customers' needs.

"By using Yintaibao, we can analyze data and understand more about the consuming behaviors, so that we can truly put our customers' needs first and provide one-to-one private personalized service to customers," he said.

The e-membership, which launched on March 8, is the first online membership product in China that allows customers at brick-and-mortar stores to make payments for offline purchases through mobile phones.

The innovative e-product is integrated with customers' membership information. Members can enjoy the advantages of Intime membership by taking their smartphones to any brick-and-mortar store of the company across China, and can pay through mobile devices as well.

The e-membership product is a major move by Intime and Alibaba to develop their online-to-offline business.

Alibaba said at the end of March it had invested as much as HK$5.37 billion ($692.5 million) in Intime to develop its online-to-offline business.

The investment is expected to give Alibaba a stake in Intime of about 9.9 percent when the deal is completed. The convertible bonds are estimated to allow Alibaba to take no less than 25 percent of Intime when it converts those bonds into common stock shares within three years.

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