US e-cigarette brand Juul reportedly teaming up with JD for its China debut

The firm is said to be willing to spend more than USD 100 million on branding and marketing in China.

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E-cigarette brand Juul is teaming up with JD, one of China’s largest e-commerce platforms, to make a foray into the Chinese market, 36Kr reports.

The San Francisco-based vaping equipment maker plans to put its products on sale on JD and spend more than USD 100 million in the next 15 months on branding and marketing operations in China.

JD has declined to comment on the partnership with Juul and called it “market rumor” when contacted by KrASIA.

Juul had been conducting market research in China as early as 2016 but then decided to postpone its entry into the country due to insufficient market demand at that time, sources familiar with the matter told 36Kr. The company hired Bain & Company to prepare for its entry to China this June.

Juul, which dominated the US e-cigarette market with 76% shares in 2018, has also reportedly contacted Alibaba’s Tmall for distribution and was snubbed by the latter, according to Chinese commercial news media outlet Landong.

China’s e-cigarette market is fast growing. Sales of e-cigarettes on JD’s e-commerce platform grew about 600% in this year’s midyear 618 shopping festival. The capital market, meanwhile, saw more than 200 new investments in the e-cigarette industry in the first half of 2019.