>> Google is set to invest half a billion dollars in Chinese powerhouse, JD.com. The move is part of the US Internet giant's efforts to expand its presence in fast-growing Asian markets and contest rivals including Amazon.com. In Asia, a rapidly growing middle class has more money to spend and their online shopping sprees have become a battleground for US and Chinese Internet giants.
JD.com markets itself as the largest retailer in China, both online or off, and the third largest Internet company globally. The partnership will include the promotion of JD.com products on Google shopping service, potentially helping the Chinese e-commerce giant to expand beyond its base in China and Southeast Asia, and establish a meaningful presence in US and European markets.
But the agreement initially won't involve any major new Google initiatives in China where the company's main services are blocked over its refusal to send the search results in line with local laws. The new deal will give Google a less than one percent stake in JD, whose other investors include Walmart and Chinese social media powerhouse, Tencent Holdings, the arch-rival of Chinese e-commerce leader, Alibaba.
The deal shows JD's determination to build a set of global alliances as it seeks to counter Alibaba, which has been more focused on forging domestic retail tie-ups.