Chinese giants Alibaba and Tencent eyeing Kruidvat

Photo: Joop Hoek /

Will WeChat creator Tencent become Kruidvat's co-owner? The Chinese tech company is considering taking an interest in A.S. Watson, the group behind the drugstore chain. Tencent's rival Alibaba is also interested.


From Singapore to China?

Singapore's sovereign wealth fund, Temasek Holdings, is putting up for sale 10% of A.S. Watson (the group behind Kruidvat, perfume chain Ici Paris XL and juice seller Sunkist). Among the interested parties are two remarkable names: apparently, Tencent is considering a 2.6-billion euro offer and rival Alibaba has also expressed its interest.

Throughout the month, potential buyers will be welcome at Temasek to discuss the acquisition, according to Bloomberg's inside sources. The Singaporean investor currently owns 25% of A.S. Watson's shares, for which it paid 5.6 billion dollars back in 2014. The retail group's main shareholder is CK Hutchison Holdings from Hongkong.


Major international omnichannel step

Participating in Kruidvat's parent company could be an important step in the strong omnichannel strategy that both Tencent and Alibaba have been pursuing in the past few years. Having achieved online dominance, both companies now also want to incorporate physical retail and achieve more international presence. 

An interest in A.S. Watson could be beneficial to both of those ambitions at once. Meanwhile, they'll also be able to digitise the store group's activities using their own technology. In China, both Alibaba and Tencent have shown to be very strong in registerless payment systems.