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China’s answer to Amazon has a huge investment programme under way to take advantage of the country’s rapidly growing online retail industry. Key to unlocking China’s tremendous consumer potential is securing extended delivery supply chains to the interior. Alibaba has a $16bn investment programme– a large part of which will be funded by a forthcoming IPO that will see it build a network of distribution centres through which Chinese retailers can sell and deliver their products. Senior Alibaba executives are projecting a threefold increase in transactions over the next three years alone, which would mean it overtaking Wal-Mart as the world’s largest retailer.

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