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JD.com sales rise as technology investment continues apace

China’s JD.com reported a 33.1% year-on-year increase in net revenue to RMB101.1 billion (£11.6 billion) for its first quarter, as the fast-growing eCommerce company ramped up technology and content expenditure.

Investment in technology and content grew by 87.2% to RMB2.4 billion year on year, as the company continues to compete with Alibaba’s Tmall marketplace in its home territory, and the likes of Amazon on a global scale.

Net income from continuing operations attributable to ordinary shareholders totalled RMB1.5 billion, compared to RMB298.8 million for the same period last year. Spending on marketing, fulfilment and general administration all rose sharply, but the extra spending in these areas paled in comparison to the tech outlay, which is expected to support a period of international growth and additional services in the months ahead.

“Our core eCommerce business performed very well in the first quarter, as consumers continue to migrate to our model of convenient and trusted retail,” explained Richard Liu, chairman and CEO of JD.com.

“Our ‘Retail as a Service’ strategy is also gaining momentum as brands, partners and companies in a variety of industries increasingly look to leverage JD’s unmatched technological infrastructure to take their businesses to the next level. We will continue to focus on building our technology capabilities to further enhance our customer experience and deepen the strength of our infrastructure.”

JD.com said it had 301.8 million annual active accounts as of 31 March 2018 – a jump of 27.6% year on year.

Among its recent business developments, it listed leveraging its retail infrastructure to help Swiss luxury watchmaker Audemars Piguet launch its first ever online pop-up boutique on the WeChat Mini-Program platform. 

Meanwhile, in March, premium Italian customised menswear brand Canali and British luxury brand Mulberry joined JD.com’s independent online luxury fashion platform Toplife, which collates global fashion items in one online location for the benefit of Chinese consumers.

Saint Laurent, Alexander McQueen and Derek Lam, La Perla, Rimowa (LVMH), and Dyson are among the brands already operating on the platform.

As of 31 March 31, JD.com operated 515 warehouses covering an aggregate gross floor area of 10.9 million sq m in China. The company said it had 170,000 merchants on its online marketplace as of April 30.