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JD.com Continues Investing in Infrastructure

Posted on Wednesday, Sep 24th 2014

In one of the most awaited e-commerce IPOs, Alibaba listed earlier this week to become the largest ever IPO in the world. But it is not just Alibaba that has led the recent Chinese IPO bandwagon. Earlier this year, Chinese B2C e-tailer JD.com had listed a successful IPO as well.

JD.com’s Financials
According to research firm iResearch, JD.com (formerly Jingdong Mall) commands a 47% market share in the end customer e-commerce transactions in China. Based on the transaction volume conducted on their website in 2013, they are the largest online direct sales company in the country. JD.com earns revenues through direct sales as well as by offering value added services to third party sellers on their marketplace. Their third party services include fulfillment services, advertising, transaction processing, and Internet financing.

Their online stores, which include both direct sales and marketplace, have grown from 1.5 million stock keeping units (SKUs) in 2011 to 40.2 million as of March this year. The corresponding GMV of transactions has grown from RMB 32.7 billion (~$5.4 billion) in 2011 to RMB 125.5 billion (~$20.7 billion) in 2013.

Revenues have grown from RMB 21.1 billion (~$3.5 billion) in 2011 to RMB 69.3 billion (~$11.5 billion) in 2013. Losses have reduced from RMB 1.3 billion (~$215 million) in 2011 to RMB 0.05 billion (~$8 million) in 2013. Over the same period, customer base has grown from 12.5 million to 47.4 million active customer accounts and the number of orders fulfilled have grown from 65.9 million to 323.3 million.

JD.com has been able to deliver such growth due to their user friendly and content rich website and the continuing adoption of mobile devices. Besides a wide range of products at competitive prices to choose from, their site offers features such as online and in-person payment options and express delivery.

For the recently ended quarter, their revenue grew 64% to RMB 28.6 billion (~$4.6 billion), ahead of the market’s estimates by 6%. During the quarter, online direct sales market share grew to 54.3%. They ended the quarter with a net loss of $93.9 million.

They expect to end the current quarter with revenues of $4.5 billion-$4.7 billion compared with the market’s projections of $4.78 billion.

JD.com’s Infrastructure Growth
Like Amazon, they too have invested in the development of a network of fulfillment centers. In fact, they have gone a step further and also have their own last-mile delivery network. As of December 2013, they were operating 86 warehouses in China spread across 36 cities. They had 1,620 delivery stations and 214 pickup stations in 495 cities across China as of March 2014. They have one of the biggest delivery networks in China that has helped them deliver more than 70% of their orders latest by the day after the order was placed. They are also able to offer same-day delivery options in 43 cities and next-day delivery in another 256 cities across China.

Currently, JD.com is continuing to invest in expanding these offerings in lower-tier Chinese cities. That has hurt their profits, but JD.com is not even expecting to turn profitable by 2015. Instead, they plan to continue these investments to use this network as a competitive advantage in the longer term – a move much similar to what Flipkart is doing in India.

Meanwhile, their stock is trading at $26.97 with a market capitalization of $32.4 billion. It touched a high of $33.10 in August this year. They had listed their American Depositary Shares (ADS) on the Nasdaq in May this year under the ticker JD by selling 93.7 million ADS at $19 each.

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