JD takes cornerstone stake in Five Star Appliances

Chinese online retailer JD is to buy nearly half the shares in electrical goods retailer Jiangsu Five Star Appliance, for US$189 million.

Jiayuan Chuangsheng currently holds 93 per cent of the Five Star business and after divesting a 46 per cent stake to JD will remain its largest shareholder with 47 per cent.

Analysts say the investment will allow JD to boost its online profile and provide consumers with a network of about 300 Five Star Appliance storefronts, in much the same way as archrival Alibaba is building physical retail networks in Mainland China, blurring the boundaries between online and offline retailing.

With stores primarily located in central and southern China, Five Star Appliances has annual sales of about US$2.7 billion.

Last year, JD accounted for nearly 40 per cent of China’s home appliance sales, making it the largest retail in the space. Partnering with a brick-and-mortar retail network is likely to boost sales for both parties and protect JD from fast-growing Suniung.com which now accounts for 30 per cent of the market. Tmall is also building a share of the appliance sector, its sales now nudging 25 per cent.


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