China’s No. 2 E-Commerce Player Ups Its Game, Narrowing Gap With Alibaba


Saturday is China’s gargantuan online shopping day, Singles Day, which is a lot bigger than Black Friday. The headlines will be dominated by news about Alibaba Group and the spending it inspires (last year, it tallied $17.8 billion in transactions in 24 hours.) But Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com is gaining ground with consumers and is making a big Singles Day marketing push, too.

JD.com, China’s No. 2 e-commerce player, was known for years as an electronics retailer. But it has expanded into a seller of everything from imported foods to luxury cosmetics to iPhones. It has built a powerful coalition with two of its shareholders, Chinese internet giant Tencent and Walmart, whose online store in China is hosted on JD.com.

“They’ve got [Tencent’s] WeChat and Walmart, the biggest retailer in the world it’s a pretty lethal combo,” says Mark Tanner, the Shanghai-based founder and managing director of China Skinny, a marketing and research agency. “If anybody’s going to knock Alibaba off their perch, it’s going to be them.”

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