Google is buying a US$550 million stake in the Chinese e-commerce group JD.com, a deal that sets the stage for the two to collaborate on various projects.
The purchase of the less-than-1% stake is the next stage in the information giant’s strategy for making inroads in China, where its search engine has been blocked since 2010.
The deal also boosts the company’s retail image by building on other tie-ups it has signed in recent months with major retailers such as Walmart and Carrefour.
The partnership between Google and JD.com, China’s second-largest e-commerce company, aims to marry the Internet behemoth’s user base with JD.com’s logistics know-how and infrastructure to cultivate retail projects in Southeast Asia, the United States and Europe.
JD.com intends to offer its goods on Google’s shopping site before branching into markets outside China. Southeast Asia, where Alibaba-owned Lazada is expanding, is believed to have great potential.