Alibaba Group is looking to invest in the app-based grocery general-goods e-retailer Boxed Wholesale, Bloomberg reports.
The Chinese retail conglomerate could invest as much as $80 million, according to the report.
The move follows Alibaba’s $140 million investment this summer in e-commerce retailer Jet.
Alibaba’s second major investment, if confirmed, shows the Chinese retail company’s level of interest in making retail inroads into the U.S.
On its own, Alibaba has focused on working with U.S. retailers in China, a country where better than 6% growth is a “cool-down,” to boost their sales there.
But over here the company hasn’t fared so well, closing its 11 Main marketplace just a year after launch.
While many see Alibaba’s investments in these U.S. efforts as potentially a challenge to Amazon, the immediate effect of any success here may end up taking down other retailers. Boxed has been seen as a potential winner against Costco, which shares a buying-in-bulk approach. An expansion or surge in Boxed could even hurt Jet, Costco, or other retailers like Target that are venturing into grocery delivery.
But Costco’s brick-and-mortar-based operations continue to thrive so far, despite headwinds from falling gas sales and the strong dollar, as does Amazon's pure-play business.