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JD.com forms $500m e-commerce JV with Thai retailer Central Group

RBR Staff Writer Published 15 September 2017

Chinese e-commerce company JD.com, JD Finance and Thailand retailer Central Group have agreed to launch e-commerce and fintech services joint ventures (JVs) in Thailand.

The  JVs will cover e-commerce and fintech services to reshape the online retailing and finance landscapes in the Southeast Asian country.

JD Finance is a Chinese fintech company while Central Group is a retail conglomerate in Thailand. Provident Capital on the other hand is an investment firm focused on Southeast Asia and is also a strategic partner of JD.com for its e-commerce business in Indonesia.

As per the terms of the agreement, Central Group will be injecting half of the investment. The remainder of the investment will come from the other three parties.

JD.com will offer the e-commerce joint venture with its expertise in technology, e-commerce and logistics while Central Group will leverage its retail resources.

Central Group CEO Tos Chirathivat said: “JD’s proven track record of successfully building out national online retail businesses made it the obvious choice to be our e-commerce partner.

“Thailand’s mobile-driven population, with its increasing consumer spending power, means that e-commerce is ready to explode, and this partnership is poised to capture the country’s consumers as they migrate online. This move marks a key step in Central Group’s goal to become Thailand’s online retail leader.”

Central Group’s physical store network, wealth of brand and merchant relationships and retail behavior insights from The 1 Card will all be used for the e-commerce joint venture.

The Thai retail group also intends to open multiple flagship stores to consolidate the product offering and speeds up its own omni-channel growth. Central Group will open them on the e-commerce platform for its department stores and important retail chains, and also for select brands it either owns or operates.

JD.com chairman and CEO Richard Liu said: “Thailand’s large population and developed infrastructure, including strong national logistics networks, give it tremendous potential for both e-commerce and fintech services.

“Working with Thailand’s strongest retail conglomerate, with a massive shopping mall and department store network, gives us a huge competitive advantage as we expand further into Southeast Asia.”

Image: JD.com’s automated warehouse in Shanghai. Photo: courtesy of JD.com, Inc.