Google’s reach into retail takes a second giant leap forward with JD.com deal

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Google’s moves to take on Amazon have taken another leap forward as the search giant signs a deal with Chinese ecommerce leviathan JD.com – just days after doing a similar deal in France with grocery giant Carrefour.

Under the deal Google will invest $550million in cash in JD, as part of a strategic initiative that will see the two collaborate on a range of strategic initiatives, including joint development of retail solutions in a range of regions around the world, including Southeast Asia, the US and Europe.
The deal doesn’t specifically mention China, where Google is currently blocked as a search engine for its refusal to censor search results in the country.

According to JD, by applying its supply chain and logistics expertise and Google’s technology strengths, the two companies aim to explore the creation of next generation retail infrastructure solutions, with the goal of offering helpful, personalised and frictionless shopping experiences.

JD also plans to make a selection of high-quality products available for sale through Google Shopping in multiple regions.

“This partnership with Google opens up a broad range of possibilities to offer a superior retail experience to consumers throughout the world. This marks an important step in the process of modernizing global retail. As we celebrate our June 18 anniversary sale, this partnership opens a new chapter in our history.”

– Jianwen Liao, Chief Strategy Officer, JD.com

For Google the move is perhaps even more significant. Google has long struggled as its search results increasingly point consumers towards Amazon, and the search giant longs for a slice of that shopping revenue. This deal with JD and the recent tie up with Carrefour give Google access to a wealth of customers, inventory and logistics to help it leap-frog its Seattle-based rival in some key European and Asian markets.

For JD it offers a chance to cock-a-snook at Alibaba in some of its key Asian markets and allows it to make a much-needed European and US expansion – the latter were it can further leverage its partnership with Walmart.

Meanwhile, that 18 June anniversary sale on JD.com reached a record high of $24.7 billion this year across the 18-day sales event – a new record.

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