China’s JD.com cashes in on steady online demand, beats market expectations

REUTERS/Aly Song

JD.com Inc’s fourth-quarter revenue beat expectations on Thursday as more shoppers flocked to its website on the back of a broader shift to online shopping triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

While China has largely emerged from coronavirus lockdowns with most businesses resuming production, JD.com’s domestic consumers continue to shop online for everything from daily groceries to luxury products.

The Beijing-based company posted revenue of 745.8 billion yuan ($114.97 billion) for the year, beating analysts’ estimate of 740.81 billion yuan.

In a pandemic-struck year, during which retail sales fell 3.9% in China, JD.com’s strategy of ramping up its in-house delivery network enabled faster deliveries.

The company has also been working to expand into price-sensitive lower-tier cities through its shopping platform Jingxi in a bid to stave off stiff competition from rivals like Alibaba and Pinduoduo that are equally popular.

As a result, JD.com raked in 110 million new active customer accounts during the year. Meanwhile, Jack Ma’s Alibaba added about 68 million active buyers in the same period.

U.S.-listed shares of the company, which have been volatile as China looks to tighten scrutiny on its tech giants, were up 3% at $91.98 in early trading.

The world’s second-largest economy has vowed to strengthen oversight of its big tech firms, which rank among the world’s largest and most valuable, citing concerns they have built market power that stifles competition, misused consumer data and violated consumer rights.

The long-term impact of this on JD.com’s business, though unclear, remains a threat. In late December, regulators fined the company, along with Alibaba and other e-commerce sites, 500,000 yuan for engaging in irregular pricing.

The company’s net revenue rose 31.4% to 224.3 billion yuan in the quarter ended Dec. 31, beating analysts’ estimate of 219.73 billion yuan, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

($1 = 6.4867 Chinese yuan renminbi)

Reuters

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.