GOOGLE HAS SIGNED what is being called a 'strategic partnership' with Chinese e-tailer JD.com.
The 'grey market' retailer, most notable for its cheap unbranded Chinese electronics (yes, Mr Trump, those electronics), will be added to Google Shopping giving it the worldwide marketplace it, and its rivals, have often dreamed of.
Google's announcement explains: "As part of this partnership, we will invest $550 million in JD.com. We want to accelerate how retail ecosystems deliver consumer experiences that are helpful, personalized and offer high-quality service in a range of countries around the world, including in Southeast Asia.
(blah blah…. marketing buzzwords… blah blah)
"By applying JD.com's supply chain and logistics expertise and our technology strengths, we're going to explore new ways retailers can make shopping effortless for their consumers, giving them the power to shop wherever and however they want."
A Reuters report adds that this doesn't represent any plans for a deeper joint venture into the sometimes fractious Chinese market.
Except it totally does. But Google will be loathed to do a full branded entry anyway, lest the Chinese government demand a copy of any collected data.
Nevertheless, any kind of foothold in China is better than none. This close alliance will nevertheless supply Google with data on Chinese shopping habits and all the other data they sold off years ago.
Additionally, it will give Google a chance at catching up with companies like Amazon who have already taken the red dragon's plunge.
For JD.com, the $550m will help it get around some of the logistical challenges of direct sale from China like the handling of customs fees and increasing its operation to the global stage.
JD is one of an increasing number of direct selling marketplaces in China, including Gearbest, Wish, Light In The Box, Ali Express, DHGate and Banggood. µ
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