Retailer behemoth, JD.com, one of Asia’s largest internet companies announced yesterday that they have completed a major cycle of major funding for a branch of their company, JD Logistics.
“This financing will enable JD Logistics to further enhance its smart supply chain network with openness and integration,” said Wang Zhenhui, CEO of JD Logistics. “It is a major step, which will speed up our collaborative efforts with leading industry partners and build China’s next-generation commercial infrastructure ecosystem.”
The funding values JD Logistics at $10.9 billion, which was led by investment firms Hillhouse Capital Group and Sequoia Capital China, as well as internet giant Tencent Holdings, and also included state-owned companies such as China Merchants Group, China Life, China Development Bank Capital, China Structural Reform Fund and ICBC International, the company said.
The Beijing-based, JD.com will remain the majority shareholder of JD Logistics with an 81.4 percent stake after the completion of this transaction, which is expected to be completed by quarter’s end.
“Our decision early on to build out our own logistics network has paved the way for JD Logistics to become the industry leader it is today. The shift throughout global e-commerce towards our model is vindication of the path we chose. This current funding round sets the stage for us to further invest in expanding our lead in the sector in areas like automation, drones and robotics,” JD.com CEO and Chairman Richard Liu said in a statement.
JD.com operates seven fulfillment centers and 405 warehouses in China. It has long prioritized logistics, more so than perhaps even Alibaba, according to TechCrunch. JD.com has made a range of investments including deals in Thailand, Indonesia, and Vietnam.
The company is also on the leading edge of automation, developing JD Automated Warehousing Solutions. They have actively been developing “dark factories,” which are completely autonomous facilities where robots work alone in the dark, completing tasks formerly done by humans. Automation is especially important in China, which is facing a labor shortage of workers between the ages of 16 and 59 – this demographic fell by 5 million in 2015, according to China’s National Bureau of Statistics. Wages are also increasing as a result.
Earlier this month, JD.com also joined BiTA. BiTA is the largest blockchain commercial alliance in the world, representing hundreds of global freight transportation companies that combined generate over one trillion dollars. The aim of the industrial freight alliance is to develop and encourage blockchain technology standards for global freight and logistics companies and to enhance the security and safety of global supply-chains.
"We are excited about our collaboration with JD.com and the significant influence they play in the Chinese retail market,” said Craig Fuller, Managing Director of BiTA. “The firm's embracing of blockchain technology is a testament to their forward thinking and constant focus on innovation. Their membership in BiTA is further validation that the Alliance is creating a global framework for freight collaboration and standards. Supply-chains are truly global and we are humbled and excited that JD.com has entrusted BiTA and its membership with its support and partnership."
Stay up-to-date with the latest commentary and insights on FreightTech and the impact to the markets by subscribing.