BEIJING: Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba have secured a 50pc stake in Guangzhou Evergrande Football Club for $192m.
Guangzhou Evergrande is one of China’s most successful football clubs and has one the Chinese Super League every year since 2011.
It was also the first Chinese team to win the Asian Champions League last year.
Alibaba’s purchase comes in the run up to its anticipated US share sale, and marks the firm’s latest attempt to diversify its business.
Billionaire founder Jack Ma has made several acquisitions ahead of the internet giant’s initial public offering, which many predict will become the world’s largest tech listing.
Earlier this year, Alibaba bought a stake in Chinese online video company Youku Tudou and has started offering videogames on its mobile applications.
“We’re not investing in football, we’re investing in entertainment,” said Ma. “Alibaba’s future strategies are health and entertainment.”
Guangzhou-based Evergrande is owned by property developer Evergrande Group which is controlled by Xu Jiayin. Xu has a net worth of $7.7bn according to the Hurun Report wealth-tracking service.