Alibaba inks deal with Spanish retail giant that covers cloud, e-commerce initiatives

Chinese e-commerce player will jointly work with El Corte Inglés across multiple areas including cloud computing, digital payments, e-commerce, and logistics.

Alibaba has inked an agreement with Spanish retail giant El Corte Inglés to collaborate on projects that cut across multiple areas, including cloud computing, online and offline retail, logistics, and digital payments.

The two retail players signed a letter of intent that will see their business units and subsidiaries work on the various initiatives, both companies said in a joint statement Friday.

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On retail, for instance, El Corte Inglés will be able to set up a flagship store and tap Alibaba's online marketplaces such as Tmall and AliExpress to offer its products to consumers in China. Operational since 1940, the Spanish company runs the largest department store chain in Europe.

In turn, AliExpress will explore the possibility of setting up physical points at El Corte Inglés shopping centres "to recreate unique and engaging shopping experiences" for Spanish shoppers. The Chinese retail vendor established a pop-up store in El Corte Inglés' Madrid outlet during its Singles Day shopping festival on November 11.

Both companies also will assess the potential for collaboration in terms of delivery and supply chains, with Alibaba possibly tapping into El Corte Inglés' logistics expertise and resources in Spain, as well as using its distribution centres as collection points for online purchases made on AliExpress.

On the cloud front, the Spanish retail company will be able to tap Alibaba Cloud's technologies, including big data analytics and artificial intelligence, to deliver more personalised customer service.

The new partnership agreement also will further extend a previous deal both companies signed in March 2018 to offer AliPay as a payment for Chinese tourists in Spain.

El Corte Inglés CEO Victor del Pozo said: "This agreement will allow us to combine both the physical and online worlds to offer the best shopping experience to our customers. Together, we are writing the future and placing ourselves at the forefront of trade and technology."

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