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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 19 July 2018

Google to buy $550m stake in China's JD.com

Deal is aimed at combining JD’s expertise in logistics and supply chain with Google’s technology to experiment with changes in how people shop

The mascot for Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com. Google will invest $550 million in Alibaba's main rival JD.com. Ng HanGuan/AP
The mascot for Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com. Google will invest $550 million in Alibaba's main rival JD.com. Ng HanGuan/AP

Google is investing $550 million in cash in China’s JD.com as the US search giant pushes deeper into online commerce.

Alphabet’s Google will buy newly issued Class A shares at $20.29 per share, equivalent to $40.58 per ADS, the companies said in a joint statement Monday. The pair plan to explore joint development of retail solutions in regions, including South East Asia, the US and Europe. The deal comes just a week after Google struck an alliance with Carrefour to sell groceries online in France through the US company’s platforms including Home and Assistant.

The flurry of activity signals Google’s growing ambitions in e-commerce. The French partnership will allow consumers to order staples through Google services on their smartphones, tablets or other devices. The latest deal is aimed at combining JD’s expertise in logistics and supply chain with Google’s technology to experiment with changes in how people shop.

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"We are excited to partner with JD.com and explore new solutions for retail ecosystems around the world to enable helpful, personalised and frictionless shopping experiences that give consumers the power to shop wherever and however they want,” said Philipp Schindler, Google chief business officer.

Google and JD have teamed up elsewhere. They both participated in the latest funding round of Indonesia’s Go-Jek, a challenger in the ride-hailing business in South East Asia.

JD, which competes with giant Alibaba, came under fire last month by a hedge-fund manager, who called China’s No. 2 e-commerce operator over-valued and criticised its “silly” investments. Kok Hoi Wong, chief investment officer for APS Asset Management, said his own internal valuation for the $63 billion company was “a tiny figure”.

JD shares fell after the attack, but have more than recovered since then. JD was little changed in US trading on Friday at $43.59.