In an apparent move to rebuild its presence in the country, tech giant Google is set to invest $550 million in cash into Chinese e-commerce player JD.com.
“As part of a strategic partnership, Google will put $550 million in cash into JD.com. In return, the tech giant will receive more than 27 million newly issued JD.com Class A ordinary shares at an issue price of $20.29 per share,” CNBC reported citing Google as saying on Monday.
Both the companies aim to work in partnership to develop retail infrastructure that can better personalise the shopping experience and reduce friction in a number of markets, including Southeast Asia.
The goal here is to merge JD.com’s experience and technology in supply chain and logistics — in China, it has opened warehouses that use robots rather than workers — with Google’s customer reach, data and marketing to produce new kinds of online retail, according to TechCrunch.
JD.com is China’s second largest e-commerce player and is valued at around $60 billion, based on its NASDAQ share price and the firm has partnerships with the likes of Walmart.
It has invested heavily in automated warehouse technology, drones and other “next-generation” retail and logistics.
Google has opened a research lab focused on artificial intelligence (AI) in China even as its search engine and many of its services — including YouTube — remain blocked in mainland China.
The search engine giant shut down its Chinese search engine seven years ago after a direct confrontation over Beijing’s censorship policies.