Unilever will partner with JD.com to extend impact in China

 A JD.com warehouses in Gu'an, China ( Image: Shutterstock ). 

A JD.com warehouses in Gu'an, China (Image: Shutterstock). 

Unilever, the massive Rotterdam-headquartered company that brings beauty, personal care, and food products to over 2.5 billion people daily, has partnered with JD.com, an e-commerce giant based in Beijing, to expand its reach in China. According to JD, the partnership between Unilever and JD is aligned with JD’s Retail as a Service (RaaS) push “in which the e-commerce company is offering its technology and infrastructure to other companies and organizations outside of its own e-commerce platforms.”  

“After working closely with JD as a retail partner, it’s clear that its logistics network and technology are unmatched,” said Rohit Jawa, executive vice president of Unilever North Asia. “By opening that infrastructure to businesses outside of its own platform, JD will now help us bring our most popular products to the most hard-to-reach communities in China, securely and quickly.”

A press release announcing the partnership notes that “JD is also the creator and earliest adopter of many of the world’s most advanced supply chain technologies, which range from big data and AI for demand planning and transportation management, to automation for more efficient order fulfillment. The company was the first e-commerce company to commercially deploy delivery drones.” Most recently, JD debuted their revolutionary warehouse that handles up to 200,000 orders a day, but employs just four people to service the robots in the factory.

"Unilever, a long-time partner of JD, presents a massive new opportunity because the company still does the vast majority of its sales through offline channels in China—sales that will now be powered by JD logistics," the release reads. 

As reported by FreightWaves’ Vishnu Rajamanickam, China leads the world in year-on-year e-commerce growth, with online retailing expected to grow from 17% of total retail sales in 2017 to 25% by 2020. JD.com has a heavy presence in the megacities like Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Beijing, but the company is now opening up to the potential of smaller cities and the remote countryside situated in the deep interior pockets of the country.

JD's dedication to cutting-edge technology is furthered by its membership in the Blockchain in Transport Alliance, the largest blockchain 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.

“JD.com’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," said Craig Fuller, managing director of BiTA.

Zhenhui Wang, CEO of JD Logistics, stated that partnering with JD will allow them to move away from relying on standalone logistics companies in China. “We believe in sharing our capabilities, because everyone, including consumers, will benefit from the transparency, speed and efficiency of modernized global commerce,” Wang concluded.