Wanda Group, a leading Chinese commercial real estate company, has acquired a controlling stake in 99Bill, a digital payment solution provider. 99Bill will be the digital payments solution for all of Wanda’s businesses, including e-commerce.
Wanda has targeted the e-commerce market from 2012, trying to build a Tmall-like business-to-customer marketplace. Realising it’s hard to beat established platforms such as Tmall and JD at their own game, Wanda then shifted to online-to-offline commerce. In December 2013 Wanda launched Wanhui, a digital service for subscription members of Wanda’s department stores.
Wanhui’s website and mobile app lists information about stores, promotional activities, group-buying deals, digital coupons, etc, at each Wanda department store. The mobile app also provides free WiFi, indoor maps and navigation, and other features like car positioning. There are several membership tiers for users to choose from.
In August this year Wanda announced the establishment of an e-commerce company with two leading Chinese internet companies, Tencent and Baidu (both taking a 15% stake). Wanda hopes to channel users from the two Chinese internet giants’ services and leverage their resources in social and search respectively.
As of August, Wanda owned 107 department stores in major Chinese cities, and expects to have some 40 million membership subscriptions by year end, according to the company. (via a Sina Tech report)
Founded ten years ago, 99Bill’s customers are mainly from traditional industries, such as retail, travel, and insurance.
Editing by Mike Cormack (@bucketoftongues)