Alibaba Chief Invests In Fast Food Chain That Once Rejected Him

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Alibaba Group’s Chief Jack Ma was once rejected by the fast-food chain KFC when he applied for a job years ago. Now the payment unit of this internet tycoon is investing in the fast-food chain’s China business to assist more consumers in using the mobile payment system at Yum! Brands’ stores, reports China Daily. This is quite an inspiring story for youngsters.

A strategic investment by Alibaba

Last week, Yum! Brands assented to sell a combined $460 million stake in its Chinese operations to Ant Financial Services Group and Primavera Capital Group. The deal could result in the formation of a separate company by next month, the report says.

Ant Financial, an affiliate of Alibaba Group Holdings, will invest around $50 million into the business, while Primavera, a Chinese private-equity firm, will put $410 million into the spinoff. Fred Hu, founder of Primavera, will head the new firm, which will be known as Yum China, the report notes.

Jason Yu, general manager of Kantar Worldpanel China, said the investment is of a strategic nature. The investment will not bring material change to the regular operations of the fast food chain, said Yu. Along with helping Yum, the deal will certainly help Alibaba.

“The deal will certainly accelerate the adoption of the Alipay mobile payment as well as digital marketing integration with Alibaba ecosystem,” Yu said.

Ant Financial operates Alipay, a widely-used mobile payments platform.

Yum! Brands has around 7,200 restaurants across the country, including Taco Bell and Pizza Hut. The fast food chain said the spinoff will be completed on October 31. Then on November 1, the new company will begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker YUMC, says China Daily. Yum’s business in the country has improved in recent quarters after food safety scandals marred its business last year.

Indonesia wants Jack Ma as advisor

In other Alibaba-related news, according to a video released by the government, Indonesia has asked Jack Ma to act as an advisor in the development of the new e-commerce industry of the Southeast Asian country. The country has the fourth-largest population worldwide and boasts a thriving e-commerce market and an internet-savvy demographic that is attracting global investors increasingly, notes Fortune.

Alibaba purchased a controlling stake in Lazada Group, a Southeast Asia online retailer, for about $1 billion earlier this year. Also private-equity firms Warburg Pincus and KKR & Co have invested more than $550 million into Go-Jek, an Indonesian ride-hailing start-up.

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