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Alibaba reportedly set to open its first physical mall in China

  • The five-floor mall is being built near Alibaba's headquarters in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou, according to financial news site Caixin.
  • The center reportedly will be called "More Mall" and is set to open in April.
  • Alibaba is also beefing up its brick-and-mortar presence in grocery, through the Hema nameplate.
Jack Ma, chairman of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., gestures as he speaks at SoftBank World 2014 in Tokyo, Japan.
Kiyoshi Ota | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Jack Ma, chairman of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., gestures as he speaks at SoftBank World 2014 in Tokyo, Japan.

Alibaba, a pioneer of Chinese e-commerce, is reportedly embarking on its first brick-and-mortar mall.

The five-floor center, to be called "More Mall," is being built near Alibaba's headquarters in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou, according to Caixin, a Beijing-based financial news group. Caixin first reported on the news Tuesday morning.

A representative from Alibaba didn't immediately respond to CNBC's request for comment.

The mall is being constructed on a 40,000-square-meter plot of land, Caixin said, and is scheduled to open in April.

Construction crews are believed to be finishing the building's interior.

Meantime, the internet giant has been making other moves in China to break into physical retailing. Alibaba CEO Jack Ma has said he wants to blend the online world with that of offline. One example is the company rolling out its own grocery concept, known as Hema.

"More Mall" will feature unique brands from Alibaba's e-commerce platform, Taobao, along with conventional retail brands, Caixin wrote. It will also have a Hema supermarket store, the publication said.

Hema was first launched in 2015 as an app that allows shoppers to order groceries via a cellphone, using Alibaba's Alipay to ring up purchases.

In the U.S., Amazon is also encroaching on the physical world of retail — especially hurting grocery stores, after it bought Whole Foods.

There are no reports of Amazon constructing its own mall, though. At least for now.

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