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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.

The mall opened on April 28 in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou, next to company headquarters. The shopping center has unmanned registers that accept the group's Alipay mobile payment service and delivery services that use company's shipment network.

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