E-commerce platform JD.com’s revenue figures beat Wall Street estimates for the first quarter of 2021, while video-sharing app Kuaishou showed a net loss of RMB 57.8 billion (around $9 billion). An Alibaba-backed rural e-commerce platform is reportedly planning for a Hong Kong IPO. Merchants prepare for China’s 618 shopping holiday, with signups on Alibaba’s Tmall platform doubling last year’s numbers. Suning.com’s “Retail Cloud” opens its 9,000th store in Chongqing.

Retail
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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 May 19-26.

Quarterly earnings

  • E-commerce giant JD.com reported on May 19 that net revenue for the first quarter of 2021 was RMB 203.2 billion, beating Wall Street estimates and showing a year-on-year increase of 39%. The company’s net income attributable to ordinary shareholders was RMB 3.6 billion, which is RMB 1.1 billion more than in the same period last year. JD.com’s number of annual active users also grew by 29% to 499.8 million in the twelve months ending March 31. (SCMP)
  • ByteDance short video rival Kuaishou showed mixed results in its Q1 earnings call on Monday. Revenue for the quarter slightly surpassed projections, but net loss was RMB 57.8 billion, an increase of 90% from the same period last year. Quarterly e-commerce GMV increased 218% from last year’s to RMB 118.6 billion. (Bloomberg)

Funding and IPOs

  • Alibaba-backed new retail platform Huitongda, which focuses on China’s rural markets, is reportedly weighing a Hong Kong IPO to raise $1 billion. The company, which began as a home appliance seller, now offers a variety of services to help rural retailers add online and local delivery services. Huitongda’s other backers include the US-China Green Fund, the State-Owned Enterprises Poverty Relief Fund, and China Merchants Bank. (Bloomberg)
  • E-commerce giant Alibaba makes its first venture into Vietnam with a $400 million investment in a subsidiary of food processing conglomerate Masan Group Corp, one of the country’s largest private companies. The money is part of a deal in which a consortium of investors will take a 5.5% stake in The CrownX, a holding company that manages assets including Vietnam’s leading supermarket chain. (Bloomberg)

Alibaba

  • Merchants flocked to take advantage of China’s “6.18” shopping holiday, with store signups on Alibaba’s online marketplace Tmall up more than double compared to last year. Tmall Vice President Yang Guang attributed this to Alibaba’s easing restrictions for those seeking to open up shop on the platform. (Caixin)
  • Alibaba-owned e-commerce platform Taobao announced at the 2021 Taobao Merchants Conference on May 18 that the company will launch a merchants resource center offering nine benefits, including guaranteed promotion for events with large registration numbers, free Taobao University courses, discounts on merchant tools, and benefits for logistics and shipping. Taobao will also separate merchants into eight levels, giving them more extensive benefits as they earn higher levels. (E-commerce News, in Chinese)

Suning

  • Suning.com, a Chinese household appliance and electronics online seller, announced on May 18 that its “Retail Cloud” subsidiary had opened 9,000 stores nationwide, the most recent in the southwestern metropolis of Chongqing. According to Suning.com, the “Retail Cloud” connects merchants in lower-tier cities and county-level markets to large manufacturers to help them grow their businesses. The company plans to open 600 more retail cloud partner stores for a total of 2,000 stores in southwestern China. (Suning Blog)

Beike

  • Peng Yongdong, co-founder, chief executive, and executive director of online housing platform Beike, will take over as company chairman after the death of founder and chairman Zuo Hui last week. Zuo died at the age of 50 and has been posthumously named Beike’s chairman emeritus. (SCMP)
  • Reuters reports that market regulators have opened an investigation into Beike for unfair competition. The company dismissed this report as “fake news” in a statement Tuesday. (Reuters; company statement, in Chinese)

Douyin

  • Video app Douyin recently began testing a new travel agent mini-app called “Mangosteen Travel.” All services offered, such as ticket booking and hotel reservations, are completed entirely within the Douyin app. The applet is Douyin’s latest move in a bid to expand into an all-in-one platform for consumers. (Tech Planet, in Chinese)

Louis Hinnant

Louis Hinnant is an intern at TechNode. He's currently covering cleantech and mobility.

Julia Lu

Julia is an intern at TechNode. After graduating from Harvard University, she worked in the entertainment industry with Chinese writers and directors. Since then, she has researched the international impact...