Prince Alwaleed buys into Beijing online retailer 360buy Jingdong

Kingdom Holding invests in e-commerce with HK$3 billion stake in 360buy

PUBLISHED : Monday, 18 February, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 18 February, 2013, 3:56am

Kingdom Holding bought a stake in 360buy Jingdong, a Beijing-based online retailer, as the investment company controlled by Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal increases investments in electronic commerce.

Kingdom led a group of investors to buy a stake valued at 1.5 billion riyals (HK$3.1 billion) in 360buy, the Saudi company said in a statement.

There were no details about the other investors.

Kingdom's investment was about US$125 million, which was financed by debt.

Qatar's QInvest advised on the deal.

Alwaleed, the world's 14th-richest person, and Kingdom have been investing in e-commerce and technology companies as demand for internet-based services increases.

The prince invested US$300 million in microblogging service Twitter in 2011 and holds stakes in companies such as Apple and News Corp.

"This deal is in line with Kingdom Holding's private-equity investment strategy through selecting high-growth companies potentially seeking to be listed in one of the international capital markets within three years," Ahmed Halawani, an executive director of private equity and international investment at Kingdom, said in the statement.

Kingdom also has interests in hotel properties, hotel management, financial services and aviation.

360buy, which sells products from home appliances to books in the world's largest internet market, offers more than seven million products through its business-to-consumer direct sales and online marketplace platform, according to Kingdom's statement.

It has 80 million registered users at the end of last year.

The Chinese company, which describes itself as an "online shopping mall", raised US$1.5 billion in venture financing in 2011.

Alwaleed, who holds 95 per cent of Riyadh-based Kingdom, has a net worth of US$29 billion. His fortune has surged US$8.5 billion since April last year as the shares of Kingdom almost doubled in value.