Trip.com share price rose 4% on Monday on its debut in Hong Kong, a boon for the firm after losses incurred as a result of the pandemic. ByteDance looks to triple its e-commerce revenue. Alibaba’s community group-buying platform is operates via mini app on rival Tencent’s WeChat. China’s hyper-competitive courier service industry saw funding, punishments, and misfortunes, all in one week.
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 April 15 – 21.
Trip.com in Hong Kong
- Chinese travel agency Trip.com improved its issue price by more than 4% on Monday, the day of its secondary public listing in Hong Kong. The company considered delisting from Nasdaq last year after booking a net loss of RMB 3.35 billion ($513 million) for the full year due to effects from the pandemic. However, Trip.com is expecting record numbers of domestic travelers for the upcoming Chinese Labor Day holiday in May, with growth figures potentially canceling out the effect of international travel restrictions. (CNBC)
- In the wake of its record-breaking fine for anticompetitive practices, Alibaba continues its efforts to make amends. For the first time since 2009, Alibaba’s e-commerce platform Tmall will lower barriers to entry for merchants starting April 19. Changes include reductions in required certifications and waived fees; vendors will be evaluated on performance. (TechNode)
- Food delivery giant Meituan looks to raise $10 billion from sales of shares and convertible bonds. About 3.2% of its equity was sold off at a discount to its Monday closing price of HK$289.20. The funds will be used to help solidify its foothold in the community group-buying segment, as well as for research and development of artificial intelligence applications in grocery delivery. Company leadership stressed that Meituan will continue to invest in community group-buying despite initial losses. (South China Morning Post)
- A leaked company memo indicated that ByteDance is aiming to triple its e-commerce gross merchandise value (GMV) of RMB 600 billion earned from its Toutiao news aggregator and Douyin video apps compared with last year’s figure of RMB 170 billion. Ad revenue and user count were also slated to improve 40% and 10%, respectively. The news bodes well for investors ahead of ByteDance’s reportedly imminent public debut. (Bloomberg)
- E-commerce titan JD.com has hammered out a deal with luxury brand Louis Vuitton which will allow Chinese consumers to buy its products through JD’s app. The move will help JD shed its reputation primarily as a seller of electronics. It will also pave the way for more luxury partnerships; nabbing as many as possible will be crucial for JD’s fledgling fashion and lifestyle section as it competes for market share with Alibaba’s Tmall. (Vogue Business)
- On April 15, Luckin Coffee announced that it received a $250 million injection of cash from shareholders Dazheng Capital and Joy Capital, with the potential for $150 million more if conditions are met. (Future Consumption, in Chinese)
- Alibaba launched a WeChat mini program for Hema Market, its community group-buying initiative. The Hema Market mini app is a rare example of a direct Alibaba-Tencent ecosystem link. Chinese tech giants are usually walled gardens, and WeChat also blocks links to Alibaba’s Taobao online marketplace. (TechNode)
- Courier service STO Express released its 2020 performance report on Thursday. Operating income was down 6.6% year on year, and profit declined to RMB 37 million, a 97.4% drop from a year earlier. The company attributed the negative news to lower market prices due to intense competition. To compensate, STO Express has increased financing and bank borrowing. A silver lining: the company forecasts a turnaround for the first quarter of 2021. (Ebrun, in Chinese)
- Rival courier service ZJS Express closed its Series B with nearly RMB 1 billion in new funding, courtesy of backers Gaolin Capital, Sino-Ocean Capital, and Ningbo Hanrun Investment. A portion of the money will go towards developing the service’s smart supply chain. ZJS’s stated goal is 50% to 100% annualized growth for the next three to five years. (Deal Street Asia)
- On April 9, Baishi Express and upstart Jitu Express were fined for price dumping. Previously fees were as low as RMB 0.8 per package in the eastern Chinese city of Yiwu, but prices doubled after the penalty. As a result, the two courier services have lost their competitive advantage and fallen out of favor among merchants. (Economic View, in Chinese)