A logo of Alibaba Group is pictured at its headquarters in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China, October 14, 2015. Photo: Reuters/Stringer

Alibaba is planning to invest 4.5 billion yuan (US$720 million) in Huitongda Network Co., a rural e-commerce subsidiary of Jiangsu Five Star Appliances Co., to explore its “New Retail” strategy in the rural areas, The Paper reported.

The two parties will collaborate on the supply chain, logistics and technology to upgrade e-commerce infrastructure in the rural areas.

Huitongda currently covers 18 provinces and more than 15,000 towns in China. It has developed more than 80,000 franchised stores, providing more than 400,000 job opportunities for farmers. Its service networks benefit 67 million farmers’ families, covering 200 million rural people.

Alibaba’s rural strategy is one of three long-term plans for the development of the Group over the next 20 years, said Zhang Yong, CEO of Alibaba.

In December last year, Alibaba founded a 10 billion yuan poverty relief fund to focus on revitalizing China’s rural areas.