Google has formed a strategic partnership with Chinese e-commerce company JD.com which will see the search giant invest $550m in cash as the companies develop "next generation" retail services.
The partnership will see the two internet and technology giants collaborate on a range of initiatives including the joint development of retail solutions in key regions including Southeast Asia, the US and Europe.
The partnership will combine Google’s technology and JD’s logistics and supply chain to develop “next generation retail infrastructure solutions”, and “personalised and frictionless” shopping experiences. JD will also use Google’s Shopping platform to promote products globally.
The partnership is a significant strategic play against JD.com’s biggest rival Alibaba, which has already embarked on an aggressive expansion strategy across Southeast Asia, Europe and the US.
JD.com made the announcement on the same day as its annual 6.18 shopping extravaganza, which last year made a record-breaking $17.6bn in sales, putting it just behind Alibaba’s Singles Day.
JD’s partnership with Google, adds to the company’s portfolio of partnerships, such as its longstanding deal with Chinese tech giant Tencent, along with a host of retail giants including Walmart and Suning. JD.com has also invested in retail companies such as luxury e-commerce site Farfetch, Chinese e-commerce site Vipshop and retail chain Better Life, among a host of others.
The deal also provides Google with a stronger foothold in the China market and builds on the search giant's existing relationship with Tencent.
Jianwen Liao, chief strategy officer, JD.com, said the deal “opens a new chapter” in the company’s history, “This partnership with Google opens up a broad range of possibilities to offer a superior retail experience to consumers throughout the world. This marks an important step in the process of modernizing global retail.”
Philipp Schindler, chief business officer at Google, said, "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.”