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JD lays down gauntlet to Alibaba with cross-border platform


JD.com has challenged China ecommerce rival Alibaba with the launch of a cross-border platform designed to bring foreign brands to the Chinese middle class.


The platform, JD Worldwide, highlights the eagerness of US groups to enter the ecommerce market in China, which is dominated by local participants.


JD Worldwide enables international businesses to sell directly to China consumers without needing to establish a legal presence on the mainland, lowering the barriers to entry for brands.


The cross-border platform includes the launch of an eBay store that allows Chinese shoppers to buy goods from US eBay sellers.


US group eBay was an early leader in China’s ecommerce sector but has lost out to fierce competition from Alibaba, which dominates the local market.


The competition with eBay prompted Jack Ma, Alibaba’s chairman, to quip: “Ebay may be a shark in the ocean, but I am a crocodile in the Yangtze. If we fight in the ocean, we lose, but if we fight in the river, we win.”


Ebay’s strategy to get back into the Chinese market with the help of more established local brands such as JD.com follows last month’s move by Amazon to open a store on Alibaba’s Tmall sales website.


JD.com, backed by Alibaba arch-rival Tencent, said of yesterday’s platform launch: “Ebay’s channel on JD Worldwide will showcase a variety of top categories and popular brands.”


JD.com is the largest Amazon-like direct sales ecommerce seller in China, boasting its own distribution and logistics network, though Alibaba dominates the local industry intraffic numbers.


Its launch of JD Worldwide highlights a shift in ecommerce over the past decade, which started by bringing Chinese exporters together with foreign wholesalers — the business model of Alibaba.



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