JD Logistics filed for a public listing in Hong Kong. Grocery app Dingdong Maicai and Dmall are reportedly eyeing a US listing. Eleme apologized for a poorly planned driver reward system during the Spring Festival holiday. Trip.com rolled out an executive rotation program and fresh produce app Meicai lost its chief financial officer.
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 Feb. 15 – 24.
JD Logistics IPO
- JD Logistics, the logistics arm of e-commerce giant JD.com, filed on Feb. 16 its prospectus for an initial share offering on the Hong Kong market. It could be the online retailer’s third publicly traded unit after its healthcare arm went public in December. JD.com will continue to hold more than 50% of the stock in JD Logistics. (SCMP)
- JD Logistic’s delivery hubs in Germany, the UK, and the Netherlands are expected to begin testing operations by the end of May. Chinese companies including Huawei will be among the first batch of firms using its services in the countries. (Blue Technology, in Chinese)
IPOs on the way
- Chinese grocery app Dingdong Maicai is reportedly gearing up for a US listing that may come as soon as this year. (Bloomberg)
- Online retailer Dmall E-commerce Co. is planning a $500 million US IPO that that could come the second half of the year, Bloomberg reported. Chinese supermarket chain Wumart Group, which backs Dmall, is also weighing a Hong Kong listing. (Bloomberg)
Big tech blunders
- Food delivery giant Eleme apologized in a Weibo post for poor judgment in an incentive plan to keep delivery drivers working through the Spring Festival holiday. Eleme rolled out a reward system that promises up to RMB 8,200 ($710) in financial incentives. To get the bonuses, drivers were required to reach weekly delivery targets from Jan. 11 to Feb. 28. The threshold for first three periods was around 250 orders, but jumped to more than 380 orders in the fourth week, a target some drivers said was impossible as many stores remained closed during the holiday. The company said in the statement that it will add more incentives and adjust the targets accordingly. (Pandaily)
- A Chinese consumer in a public WeChat account accused e-commerce platforms like Taobao of accessing and reading unsent user messages to customer service members. A screenshot of a dialog between the buyer and a Taobao service agent showed that an answer was given before the question was sent. A Taobao employee denied the accusation and explained that it could be caused by a network delay. (The Paper, in Chinese）
- Chinese online travel giant Trip.com rolled out an executive rotation program, according to which each term lasts one to two years. Senior executive Xiong Xing was appointed the first acting CEO under the program. (China Travel News)
- Meicai, the Chinese app that enables farmers to sell their produce directly to restaurants, announced Friday the departure of its chief financial officer Wang Can whose appointment in July was widely translated by local media as a sign that the company was accelerating its IPO process. Wang’s departure could potentially affect Meicai’s plans to list during which it reportedly seeks to raise around $300 million. (Bloomberg)
- Zhang Wei, public relations director of Alibaba’s digital media and entertainment business, passed away at his home before the Spring Festival holiday, which began Feb. 12. The news didn’t catch much public attention until a viral post alleging that Zhang committed suicide by jumping from Alibaba’s Beijing headquarters, hinting that work pressure caused his depression. Zhang’s family denied the rumors in a Wednesday statement, saying that they are “extremely distressed by the untrue remarks” and “only wish him peace and tranquility.” (Southern Metropolis Daily, in Chinese)