JD.com, the Amazon-like Chinese online retailer, has developed a Cloud platform,JCloud, for smart hardware products and smart home appliances in-house that will officially be launched later this month.

The largest online retailer of China by market cap has been building a platform for smart hardware, which even includes an incubation program, called JD+, and has helped smart gadgets made in or outside China such as fitness tracking gadget Shine achieve high-volume sales.

The Cloud platform, like many others, will offer Cloud storage and data analytics services. With the addition of this, JD.com will be providing almost everything smart hardware makers big and small need, from funding, component parts like WiFi chips, to distribution channels.

With Tencent being its second largest shareholder, JD recently had been added into Tencent’s mobile messaging app WeChat as the Shopping channel. The link to the smart gadget site of JD is featured in one of the three sub-channels.

JD Smart Gadget Channel Featured on WeChat Shopping

JD is also building experience stores for consumers to try out those smart gadgets on its platform.

Now a couple of other Chinese tech companies who also wanted to build platform for smart hardware have been dwarved by JD. Chinese search giant Baidu built a Cloud platform hoping all the smart gadgets to use its Cloud services. JD and Baidu announced a partnership early this year with the latter offering the Cloud services. But before long JD is taking it all.

One of the few in the smart hardware ecosystem JD hasn’t tapped into is crowdfunding. Right now JD is working with those crowdfunding sites that the latter would introduce products which are ready to ship to JD. It’d be very easy for JD to build a crowdfunding site if the number of project backers or the amount of pledged funding is big enough to be considered by JD as a threat to post-crowdfunding sales.

Tracey Xiang

Tracey Xiang is Beijing, China-based tech writer. Reach her at traceyxiang@gmail.com