JD.com to launch marketplaces in France, the UK and Germany

JD.com have revealed plans to take on Amazon across Europe with an initial launch in France to be followed by launches in the UK and Germany – the three biggest European ecommerce territories. Their ultimate aim is to become a household name within just a few years and the marketplace have already established offices in Paris.

JD.com is China’s largest online direct sales company, with more than 56% market share and like Amazon also invite third party sellers to sell on their platform. UK consumers can already purchase from JD on their JoyBuy site.

Founder and CEO of JD.com, Richard Liu told the FT that they also plan to launch in the US towards the end of 2018.

One of the interesting challenges for JD.com is also their USP – like Amazon they have built their own logistics network to control the entire customer experience from order to delivery. Richard Liu explained to the FT that their network was built specifically for online, unlike many couriers who are held back by software built on decades old technology.

JD have indicated that they’ll spend some €1 billion over a two year period in France to establish their own logistics network. To but that into perspective, Amazon previously revealed that they have invested over €20 billion in Europe since 2010. JD.com’s €1 billion, to be spent in France alone and purely on logistics, is still a hefty chunk of loose change to get established with. It is likely that JD will operate warehouses but partner with local courier companies in each country to perform the last mile deliveries.

JD appear to be masterminding a dual pronged attack to increase trade in Europe. Opening up marketplaces in European countries will make it easy for European retailers to sell domestically and to neighbouring countries whilst at the same time JD are forging relationships with European leaders to foster trade with China. Last week JD commited to sell £2 billion of UK goods to Chinese consumers. They are also to build facilities in France to assist French retailers sell to China.

A final titbit that the FT reports is that JD plan to open a research centre in Cambridge late next year to focus on Artificial Intelligence and big data. It’s hard to to immediately draw further comparisons with Amazon when you remember that Amazon’s Drone and Alexa development centre is also in Cambridge.

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