JD.com Inc., China’s No. 2 e-commerce player, is moving on industry leader Alibaba Group after launching a cross-border online shopping platform.
JD Worldwide will allow Chinese shoppers to buy imports from American firms such as Nike Inc., Starbucks Corp. and Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc., as well as products from countries including Australia, France, Germany, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, Reuters reported Wednesday.
The new service puts JD.com in direct competition with Alibaba’s Tmall Global service.
Overseas suppliers will be able to offer more than 1,200 brands without being present in China.
The venture adds to a host of online retail rivals for Alibaba and Amazon.com Inc. catering to fears about the quality and safety of Chinese goods after a number of scares.
It and comes on the back of a Chinese government push to promote e-commerce and relax import restrictions.
JD.com trails far behind Alibaba in Chinese e-commerce.
Alibaba’s high profile since its record-breaking US$25 billion New York listing in September is a huge lure for brands looking to enter or raise their presence in China, the world’s biggest online shopping market, according to estimates.
“Imported goods have always been huge sellers on JD.com, and this massively expands the range of products available to Chinese consumers,” said Leo Li, who oversees JD Worldwide.
Using China’s e-commerce free trade zones and the firm’s own logistics network, JD.com can “offer international brands a direct channel to Chinese consumers with preferential tax rates to make prices highly competitive”, he said.
In addition, JD.com will do marketing for its overseas partners.
“We are currently providing free advertising so that they get good traffic and don’t become ghost stores. We’re playing the long game with our partners.”
JD.com, backed by Alibaba arch-rival Tencent Holdings Ltd, also said it launched with eBay Inc. a program to allow Chinese shoppers to buy select goods from US eBay sellers.
A spokeswoman for eBay confirmed the partnership.
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