Google Makes $550 Million Investment in Chinese E-Commerce Firm JD.Com

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Over the recent weeks, we’ve seen that Google is steadily increasing its presence in China. Earlier, Google has partnered with Xiaomi, Huawei and others to bring its ARCore technology to China and has also launched Files Go – a file manager for Android devices – which was independently stocked in the app stores of Xiaomi, Tencent, Baidu and Huawei for distribution as Google Play Store does not operate in China.

Recently, the search giant has pushed that strategic partnership even further by purchasing $550 million of shares in the Chinese e-commerce firm JD.com. Google made investments in China, released its products and even opened up some offices including an AI hub. But it is now working with JD.Com largely outside China. The companies jointly announced that they will collaborate on a rage of strategic initiatives which will include joint development of retail solutions in the United States, Europe and South East Asia.

Google’s aim here is to merge the expertise and experience of JD.Com in its supply chain logistics as the latter has opened several warehouses in China that make use of robots rather than workers. The investment will help combine Google’s huge customer outreach and data and marketing strategy to reach new kinds of online retail goals.

This will also mean that JD.Com’s products will be offered across the Google Shopping platform all over the world while the collaboration doesn’t seem to be just limited to that as both the companies have other possible strategies on mind.

While JD.Com, valued at $60 billion, has partnership with the likes of Walmart and others and has invested huge amounts in warehouse technology and other forms of ‘next-generation’ retail and logistics; Google, on the other hand, has relationships with a range of e-commerce firms including Alibaba – JD.Com’s arch rival. So the combination of a distribution platform like Google and a service provider like JD.Com seems to be more interesting.

But everything looks like it’s the best time for Google in China as it has successfully developed strong partnerships with JD.Com and Tencent – the $500 billion Chinese internet giant and probably the biggest backer of JD.Com. The three companies are also backing Go-Jek ride-hailing service in Southeast Asia while Google and Tencent have also earlier inked a patent sharing partnership and have invested together in Chinese AI start up XtalPi.