Google to invest US$550M in Chinese e-commerce giant JD

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Google to invest US$550M in Chinese e-commerce giant JD

Google will invest US$550 million in Chinese e-commerce giant, as part of the U.S. company’s efforts to expand its presence in Asian markets and battle rivals including Amazon, Reuters reported.

The two companies described the investment announced this week as one piece of a broader partnership that will include the promotion of JD products on Google’s shopping service. This could help JD expand beyond its base in China and Southeast Asia and establish a meaningful presence in U.S. and European markets, according to the article.

JD is China's second-biggest e-retailer, behind Alibaba. Both have recently expanded into the "offline" produce retail, with Alibaba setting up Hema Supermarket and JD creating 7Fresh.

JD’s U.S.-listed shares rose 0.4% to close at US$43.76 on the NASDAQ, Reuters reported.

Company officials said the agreement initially would not involve any major new Google initiatives in China, where the company’s main services are blocked over its refusal to censor search results in line with local laws.

The partnership not only lets Google bolster its retail ambitions in China but also allows it to further tighten its relationship with Walmart. Together, the two companies could challenge the dominance of Amazon and Alibaba in key markets around the world, analysts said.

The JD investment is being made by the operating unit of Google rather than one of parent company Alphabet’s investment vehicles, according to the article.

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