GOOGLE TO INVEST $550 MILLION IN CHINA E – COMMERCE GIANT JD.COM

Google will invest $550 million in JD.com, one of China’s largest e-commence companies, as part of a strategic partnership to jointly develop markets outside of the country, the two said in a statement.

“Google and JD plan to collaborate on a range of strategic initiatives, including joint development of retail solutions in a range of regions around the world, including Southeast Asia, the U.S. and Europe,” the statement said. “By applying JD’s supply chain and logistics expertise and Google’s technology strengths, the two companies aim to explore the creation of next generation retail infrastructure solutions, with the goal of offering helpful, personalized and frictionless shopping experiences.” JD, a rival of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba.com led by Chinese billionaire Richard Liu, also plans to sell products through Google Shopping in multiple regions, the two said.

“This partnership with Google opens up a broad range of possibilities to offer a superior retail experience to consumers throughout the world,” said JD’s Chief Strategy Officer Jianwen Liao, according to the statement. “This partnership opens a new chapter in our history.”

“We are excited to partner with JD.com and explore new solutions for retail ecosystems around the world to enable helpful, personalized and frictionless shopping experiences that give consumers the power to shop wherever and however they want,” said Google Chief Business Officer Philipp Schindler.

For JD, the partnership with Google comes at a time of intensifying e-commerce growth at home in China.  JD has been working to expand beyond its traditional strength in electronics products into fashion and luxury (see story here).  JD is a frequent investment partner with China Internet giant Tencent, which also holds a stake in JD. The statement didn’t mention whether the three would pursue new business together.  Google is one of several popular U.S. websites that are blocked by the Chinese government, including Facebook and Youtube.

Under the agreements, Google will receive 27,106,948 newly issued JD Class A shares at an issue price of $20.29 per share, equivalent to $40.58 per ADS, based on the volume-weighted average trading price over the prior 10 trading days.

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