Global Logistic Properties Ltd (GLP) is to buy a 15.3 percent stake in China’s largest state-owned warehouse logistics company for 2 billion yuan ($324 million), and the two firms will form a joint venture, aiming to tap the warehouse industry in China amid an online shopping boom.

GLP, a provider of logistics facilities in China, Japan and Brazil, said in a statement the joint venture with its partner China Materials Storage and Transportation Development Company (CMSTD) is expected to invest over 3.6 billion yuan ($583 million) to develop up to 1.3 million square meters of buildable area across China.

China’s booming ecommerce industry faces a shortage of modern warehouse facilities, and GLP estimated the country needs to invest $2.5 trillion over the next 15 years to achieve one third of the scale available in the United States.

The joint venture will be the exclusive vehicle for logistics development projects in China of CMSTD, which owns a total land resources of more than 9 million square meters.

The deal will allow to GLP to benefit from CMSTD’s strong land sourcing capabilities and CMSTD will have the opportunity to tap into GLP’s expertise in developing and managing modern logistics facilities, GLP co-founder and chief executive officer Ming Z. Mei said.

GLP is making the investment out of the funds raised in February in a consortium deal with Bank of China Group Investment, private equity firm Hopu Funds and China Life .

GLP will pay 11.82 yuan per share for the 15.3 percent stake via a private placement, representing a 10 percent discount to the last transacted price of CMSTD on July 25.

Less than 20 percent of China’s warehouses are categorised as modern, with fully computerised tracking systems and the latest in retail technology, GLP and other warehouse builders said.

The lack of technology can cut into profits for e-commerce firms. Though wages in China are much lower than in the United States, it can cost over twice as much to transport goods, according to GLP, the biggest foreign builder of logistics facilities in China.

In May, Dutch pension fund APG Asset Management said it would spend up to $650 million to buy 20 percent of Chinese warehouse firm e-Shang, backed by private equity firm Warburg Pincus LLC, and establish a joint venture. (Reuters)