JD.com – the second-largest Chinese B2C with just Alibaba ahead of it – took a leap in faith on Monday, and opened research and development premises in Silicon Valley where online shopping was born. Could this be taking coals to Newcastle? Will anybody listen to the ‘New Boy from China? Venturebeat expects it to get stuck into big-data infrastructure, cloud computing, and mobile applications initially.
How Well Could JD.com Shape Up?
Make no mistake Silicon Valley is a big place. It hosts thousands of high tech companies creating jobs faster than construction companies can keep up. Adobe Systems, Advanced Micro Devices, Agilent Technologies. Alphabet Inc., Apple Inc., and Applied Materials all have headquarters there. And that is just the first of 26 letters in the modern English alphabet.
JD’s founder and ceo Richard Lui isn’t the slightest bit perturbed that Alibaba opened its second data centre there last week. “Given the scope and strength of American brands, products and capabilities,” he says, “the U.S. was the obvious choice as we sought a location for our first online shopping related office outside of China and Asia. We are excited to increase our US presence by establishing an operation in the heart of Silicon Valley.”
JD and Alibaba Want the Soul of American Consumers
Coming from ‘inscrutable China’ is not always a good thing. Westerners generally still take online shopping opportunities on JD.Com (and Alibaba) with a measure of salt. They suspect counterfeit online shopping goods may still be rife. JD has had some success with ‘U.S. Mall’ that brings Chinese consumers closer to imported American products. The challenge is to swing things around the other way around.
With Alibaba expanding aggressively into Europe and now the USA, JD’s Richard Jui will have the words of Jack Ma ringing loudly in his ears. “China should shift from exporting to importing … it is an opportunity for the world.” Go Richard Go.