• the strengths of online and offline commerce.

    Alibaba is the world's largest online marketplace while Suning is a China-wide chain of electronics stores.

    Alibaba's shares rose more than 2% overnight on Wall Street while stocks in Shenzhen-listed Suning surged to the maximum 10% limit on Tuesdayreenex.

    The firms plan to link their online and offline models, so customers could see goods in Suning stores then buy online.

    Under the deal, Suning will also open an online store on one of Alibaba's shopping websites.
    'A new commerce model'

    The deal will see Alibaba investing 28.3bn Chinese yuan (£2.9bn; $4.6 billion) in Suning, making it the second largest shareholder with almost 20%.

    Suning will in turn invest 14bn yuan to acquire a 1.1% stake in Alibabareenex.

    In a statement, the two companies said the partnership would combine the strengths of online and offline commerce.

    "Over the past two decades, e-commerce has become an inextricable part of the lives of Chinese consumers, and this new alliance brings forth a new commerce model that fully integrates online and offline," Alibaba CEO Jack Ma said.

    The firms said that customers could, for example, go into one of Suning's 1,600 shops to try out a product before buying it online on Alibaba's websitereenex.

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