This week, India added 43 Chinese apps to its lengthy blacklist including Alibaba platforms. Chinese online retailer JD.com’s quest to publicly list its affiliate companies came a step closer to reality with both logistics and healthcare subsidiaries preparing their stock market debuts. China’s media regulator tightened its grip over the livestream industry. A Tencent-backed online recruiting platform was again under fire for failing to screen job postings.
China’s e-commerce and retail market offers a fire hose of products, choices, business models, rapidly changing content, and more. Here’s what you need to know about China’s online retail market for the week of Nov. 19 – 25.
India expands China ban
Border tensions have escalated to a broader tech war—India blocked another 43 Chinese apps on Tuesday, expanding the total number to more than 200. Alibaba’s global marketplace Aliexpress and livestreaming platform Taobao Live as well as several other dating and gaming platforms were added to the blacklist, joining a lengthy roster that already include some of China’s biggest apps such as Wechat, Tiktok, Weibo, and Alipay. Similar to earlier bans targeting Chinese apps, the government cited national security as the reason for the move. (Bloomberg)
IPOs and acquisitions
- JD Logistics, the logistics unit of Chinese online retailer JD.com, is looking to raise $5 billion in its IPO, a figure that would value the company at $40 billion. The valuation is much higher than its reportedly $30 billion valuation from late 2019. The public offering could come in 2021 and JD is choosing between Hong Kong and the US for the listing, according to a source cited in the IFR report. The JD affiliate operated approximately 750 warehouses that covered an aggregate gross floor area of over 18 million square meters, according to an internal letter (in Chinese) written in August by JD Logistics CEO, Wang Zhenhui. (IFR)
- JD Health, the healthcare arm of JD.com, is looking to raise $4 billion in Hong Kong’s largest listing of this year, potentially valuing the company at $29 billion. The offering is scheduled for Dec. 8, local media reported. The deal has attracted cornerstone investors including Hillhouse Capital Group, Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC, and several long-term funds, according to Hong Kong-based media. (Reuters)
- Yatsen Holding, parent company of Chinese online cosmetics brand Perfect Diary, raised $617 million in its New York debut on Nov. 19, selling 59 million American Depositary Shares for $10.5 apiece. The four-year-old firm said the proceeds will be used for company operations, strategic investments and acquisitions, product and technology development, and offline expansion. (Beijing News, in Chinese)
- Bluecity, the Nasdaq-listed parent of China’s largest gay dating app Blued, has fully acquired local rival Finka for RMB 240 million ($36.4 million). The acquisition comes three months after Bluecity acquired China’s lesbian social networking app Lesdo. (Bluecity)
- China’s National Radio and Television Administration rolled out on Monday a new rule that requires hosts and audiences of live-streaming platforms to register using their real names in a move to tighten control over China’s flourishing livestream market. The rule also banned teenagers from sending virtual gifts after several teenagers bankrupted their parents by tipping livestream hosts tens of thousands of yuan. The move could significantly impact revenue for companies including Kuaishou, Huya, Douyin, and YY Live. (Nikkei)
- US short seller Muddy Waters said revenue from livestreams for China-focused platform YY Live is “around 90% fraudulent” in a 71-page report released Nov. 18. The report said the company’s international livestream platform Bigo could also be inflating figures. The report followed shortly after Baidu announced its plan to acquire YY Live.(Muddy Waters)
READ MORE: US-listed Chinese firms are on thin ice
China tech’s dark side
- Tencent-backed online recruiting app Boss Zhipin drew public ire this week after local media reported that employers are using the platform for recruiting prostitutes. The company denied the claim, saying that it has rigid rules in place to control job postings and block accounts once sensitive words are detected. The company was criticized in 2017 for failing to screen jobs involving a pyramid scheme, which reportedly lead to the death of a 21-year-old university graduate. (Beijing News, in Chinese)
- Shi Miao, formerly vice president of Cainiao Logistics, was arrested in September, accused of receiving improper payments of several million yuan, according to an internal announcement made public last week. Shi, who began working at Cainiao in 2016, resigned from his roles at Cainiao in June. (Late Post, in Chinese)