Chinese online retail giant Alibaba has invested in Turkey's leading e-commerce platform Trendyol, marking the largest internet transaction in the European country to date.

As part of the deal, the two companies will cooperate to help Trendyol, which has over 16m customers, accelerate its growth. Trendyol, meanwhile, will leverage Alibaba's capabilities in technology, e-commerce, mobile payments and logistics.

"Turkey is an exciting and important market as we assess the development and proliferation of digital economies in the region and around the world," says Michael Evans, president of Alibaba Group. "With this investment, Alibaba is partnering with a market leader and a strong founder-led management team, who have built an exceptional company with a strong platform, impressive growth and a loyal merchant and customer base.

"Together we will create significant opportunities in e-commerce, digital payments and the entire retail value chain in Turkey and across the region."

Turkey's population of 80m is one of the youngest in Europe, with 50% of the population below the age of 30, representing an attractive, longterm consumer market opportunity. Additionally, with only 3.5% of the country's retail sales currently online, there are significant opportunities for Trendyol to help foster the transformation of the region's retail infrastructure, the two firms say.

Turkey, also has significant potential to become an enabler for Alibaba's future growth in the region with its 3m SMEs, great manufacturing capabilities, strong logistics and connectivity to regional markets.

"We are very excited about this partnership," said Demet Mutlu, founder and CEO of Trendyol. "The two companies share a very similar culture, values and both have huge ambitions for the digital economy. We have always looked up to Alibaba, and now their investment and support will help us in the next phase of our growth and evolution.

"In particular, we will work with Alibaba to help Turkish brands, merchants and manufacturers to reach hundreds of millions of shoppers globally, and we will continue to serve our customers and contribute to the development of the digital economy in Turkey and the broader region."