Eyeing an expansion of its presence in fast-growing Asia, Alphabet’s (GOOG) Google is investing $550 million in JD.com, the Chinese e-commerce player as part of a broader strategic alliance.
In a press release, the two companies said they will collaborate on new initiatives including a joint retail service that will be launched around the world including in Southeast Asia, the U.S. and Europe. Google isn’t planning on doing anything new in China as a result of the deal. Its core search business has been banned because of its refusal to allow the government to censor it. As part of the deal, Google will sell JD.com products via Google Shopping.
Google Gets 27.1M Newly Issued JD.com Shares
Under the terms of the alliance, Google gets 27.1 million newly issued JD.com Class A ordinary shares at a price of $20.29 for each share which the companies said is equal to $40.58 per ADS based on the volume weighted average trading price over the past ten trading days. It amounts to under a 1% stake in JD.com. "We are excited to partner with JD.com and explore new solutions for retail ecosystems around the world to enable helpful, personalized and frictionless shopping experiences that give consumers the power to shop wherever and however they want,” said Google Chief Business Officer Philipp Schindler, said in prepared remarks announcing the deal. (See more: Google Home Outselling Amazon’s Echo.)
The investment on the part of Google comes as it’s picking up its pace of investments in Asia, which is seen as the next hotbed of growth for all sorts of technology companies from startups to powerhouses. Google has already invested in Go-Jerk, the ride-hailing startup out of Indonesia and is reportedly gearing up to invest in Flipkart, the Indian eCommerce player being acquired by Walmart Inc. (WMT). (See more: Flipkart Board Backs Walmart Offer Over Amazon.)
Google Can Help JD.com Expand
For JD.com, the partnership with Google gives it a pathway to expand beyond its core markets of China and Southeast Asia and gives it a good presence in the U.S. and European markets where Google dominates. It will also help it pushback from Alibaba (BABA) its biggest rival in China. The deal with JD.com comes just a week after Google struck a partnership with Carrefour in which the France company will sell groceries via Google’s voice-activated Home device. Put together it underscores Google’s interest in growing in the e-commerce markets around the world.