International

JD.com Goes Big In Online Financial Services

While China’s eCommerce landscape certainly has its standout performers, there are always those that are poised to launch comebacks and shake up the industry. JD.com is far from an underdog, but it’s still ready to make gains in areas where it has not yet made an established presence.

JD.com, China’s largest single direct retail marketplace, announced Saturday (Jan. 16) that its financing subsidiary, JD Finance, had secured a valuation of about $7 billion in a funding round with Sequoia Capital China, China Harvest Investments and China Taiping Insurance. Richard Liu, CEO of JD.com, explained that his website is ready to expand on its earlier success to assume a new dynamic position in China’s emerging eCommerce and financial services spaces.

“We are delighted to welcome Sequoia Capital China, China Harvest Investments, China Taiping Insurance, among other investors, as partners in our fast-growing JD Finance business,” Liu said in a statement. “JD Finance has become a leading industry player by leveraging JD.com’s eCommerce expertise and advantages in Big Data and technology to provide financial solutions to Chinese consumers, innovative startups and traditional enterprises. By partnering with top financial and startup service institutions, we will be even better-positioned to create China’s leading financial technology ecosystem.”

It will take more than just good positioning and a massive warchest to become China’s go-to FinTech provider. The Wall Street Journal explained that Alibaba, China’s undisputed eCommerce king, has been hard at work beefing up Ant Financial Services Group, its comparative affiliate. Ant raised more than $1.9 billion in a funding round in late 2015, and anonymous sources have pegged Alibaba’s financial services subsidiary as having a valuation well into the tens of billions of dollars.

Shengqiang Chen, CEO of JD Finance, is undeterred about the company’s prospects.

“Since its launch in 2013, JD Finance has built one of the most trusted financial technology platforms in China,” Chen said in a statement. “With our top risk management technology and the additional expertise from our investors and partners, we look forward to significantly expanding JD Finance’s service offerings and market reach.”

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