Google to invest $550 mln in Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com

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Google has formed a strategic partnership with Chinese e-commerce company JD.com which will see the search giant invest $550m in cash as the companies develop "next generation" retail services. With some significant assistance from Google, there is opportunity for JD's expansion into European and USA markets.

JD.com made the announcement on the same day as its annual 6.18 shopping extravaganza, which previous year made a record-breaking $17.6bn in sales, putting it just behind Alibaba's Singles Day.

The deal will give Google 27.1 million newly-issued JD.com Class A ordinary shares.

Meanwhile, JD.com will bring high-quality products to other parts of the world through Google Shopping.

"The announcement isn't focused on China", JD.com spokesman Josh Gartner confirmed to AFP.

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The move for a distribution platform like Google to back a service provider like JD.com is interesting since the company, through search and advertising, has relationships with a range of e-commerce firms including JD.com's arch rival Alibaba.

Morningstar analyst Chelsey Tam said the investment will help JD.com expand into developed markets such as the United States and Europe, where it has lesser exposure compared to Google.

Company officials said the deal would marry Google's market reach and strength in analytics with JD.com's expertise in logistics and inventory management.

"This partnership with Google opens up a broad range of possibilities to offer a superior retail experience to consumers throughout the world", said JD.com's Chief Strategy Officer Jianwen Liao.

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