Google announced Monday that it will invest $550 million into China’s second largest e-commerce giant, JD.com. According to the deal, Google will be receiving more than 27 million newly issued JD.com Class A ordinary shares issued at $20.29 per share, accounting for less than 1% stake in the company.
There are abounding synergies to be reaped from the merge of Google’s deep market reach and expertise in analytics with JD’s experience and core technology in logistics and inventory management in a bid to explore a wide plethora of strategic initiatives, including a joint collaboration to develop innovative retail solutions in Europe, the US, and Southeast Asia.
This is very interesting for two main reasons.
First, this joint collaboration with Google will help boost JD.com’s ‘retail-as-a-service’ vision globally, beyond the shores of China and Southeast Asia – something not explored by Alibaba as yet.
For instance, JD.com can now sell its products globally via Google Shopping platform. The joint partnership to establish retail solutions on a global scale will take this even further.
Second, this partnership might offer a glimpse of Google’s changing business strategy in its fight against another American giant, Amazon.
Unlike previous investments to increase its presence in China, this bet into JD.com is not aimed at releasing products or setting up new offices in China, but rather to work with a Chinese giant on projects to develop retail solutions globally – a possible move to lure back product searches from Amazon.
This too might be Google’s forward-thinking strategy against rising trade tensions between the U.S and China.
Furthermore, as a distribution platform, Google has had relationships with other e-commerce firms as well, including Alibaba. This investment into Alibaba’s competitor, JD.com might just be a prelude to the deepening relationship between Google and Tencent, the largest backer of JD.com.
As a matter of fact, Google, JD.com, and Tencent have jointly backed Indonesian ride-hailing giant, Go-Jek.