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Alibaba's brick-and-mortar mall heralds new growth strategy

Giant vendor needs physical platform as China e-commerce market nears maturity

Alibaba's brick-and-mortar shopping center in Hangzhou features stores from online retailers like Taobao. (Photo by Naoki Matsuda)

SHANGHAI/DALIAN/TOKYO -- The opening of Alibaba Group's first brick-and-mortar shopping mall at the end of April is another step in the online retailer's effort to blend its digital prowess with a footprint in the physical world, given limited growth prospects for China's e-commerce market.

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