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Google Invests in JD.com as the E-Commerce Site Eyes Further Global Expansion

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Today is not only Dragon Boat Festival in China, but also one of the country’s numerous “shopping festivals” — in this case it’s 6.18, originally created by JD.com to celebrate their founding in 1998.

It’s a day of huge sales and discounts across the e-commerce platform (and increasingly across its rival sites too), but this year has been marked by an extra windfall for the Beijing-headquartered company after it was announced that Google will invest $550 million USD in their operations.

Billed as a “strategic partnership” the deal will see the companies “explore joint development of retail solutions to enable helpful, personalized and frictionless shopping experiences in several regions including Southeast Asia, the U.S. and Europe”, according to an official press release.

The statement goes on to say that:

Google and JD plan to 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 U.S. and Europe. By applying JD’s 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, personalized and frictionless shopping experiences. JD also plans to make a selection of high-quality products available for sale through Google Shopping in multiple regions.

While Google’s search and email services are blocked along with some of its other products in Mainland China, the global internet giant does maintain a number of operations — and some visibility — in the country.

WATCH: Google Recruits MC Jin, Wades Back into China Waters

Forging strategic partnerships with successful Chinese companies as they aim to take their brands overseas also looks to be a smart move.

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Jake Newby
Jake Newby is a Shanghai-based writer and editor with more than a decade's experience living and working in China. Previously managing editor of Time Out Shanghai, he's also written for publications such as South China Morning Post and the Financial Times.

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