June 18 (UPI) — Google announced on Monday that it will invest $550 million in Chinese e-commerce company JD.com.
The all-cash investment, by which Google will buy 27 million new shares of NASDAQ-listed JD at $40.58 per share, is expected to aid Google in competing with Amazon.com in e-commerce sales and advertising. The deal would give Google about one percent of JD shares, which are also owned by Walmart and Tencent Holdings. Google has been blocked in China since 2010 for refusing to censor content, and the deal could help strengthen its Chinese connections, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.
Google has an artificial intelligence laboratory in Beijing, and recently introduced its Files Go app in China, a digital storage application.
JD is China’s second-largest e-commerce website, with about 25 percent of China’s business-to-consumer Internet market share. It remains far behind Alibaba’s 60 percent markets share. Google and JD said they sought a retail infrastructure that can better personalize the shopping experience in several markets, including Southeast Asia. JD also said it will make some items available, through Google Shopping, available to U.S. and European markets.
The partnership can open a retail channel for JD to sell products globally at a time when a trade war between China and the United States could be imminent, CNBC reported.