What happened: Last October, e-commerce giant JD.com announced that it would enter property rental. Its real estate department has revealed that the nearly one-year-old platform now has 82 developers and 35 service providers, providing 2,027 listings in over 20 cities. JD.com provides more than a simple platform for apartment listings, however; the company also offers to provide solutions for customers’ safety concerns. JD.com has stated that its listings abide by industry standards to avoid dangerous levels of formaldehyde. In addition, locks and keys will be switched out each time a new renter moves into their home. The platform also has flexible payment options, JD.com added, and the option to skip a housing deposit for some listings.
Why it’s important: Although still new, JD.com’s real estate department has big plans to become an online industry leader within the next five years. It also seems determined to avoid the mistakes of its predecessors: a few months ago a former Ziroom renter sued the company for what she perceived to be lethal levels of formaldehyde. The company as a whole, however, has been on shaky ground after its CEO and founder Liu Qiangdong became embroiled in a rape allegation case.