Hong Kong is new Singles’ Day battlefield as JD.com jumps into the fray
The e-tailer’s move into Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan serves to test the water for global expansion
Hong Kong has become the latest battlefield for China’s Singles’ Day shopping festival as Chinese e-commerce major JD.com jumps into the fray, after a similar move made by Alibaba Group last year.
The Beijing-based e-tailer will for the first time bring its offerings to Hong Kong shoppers during the upcoming festival, the world’s biggest online sales event held annually on November 11, in a major step to ramp up its services outside mainland China.
The New York-listed JD.com announced on Tuesday that apart from the millions of offerings – ranging from consumer electronics to books, free delivery will be provided to shoppers in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan between Nov 1 and Nov 14 for their purchases on its site, and some coupon incentives will given to first-time users.
“Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan markets are strategically important for our global expansion. Consumers in the region are very picky and have an international mindset. If we can win them over, we can win the rest of the world over,” said Jake Yu, head of supply chain department at the international business group of JD.com.
“Starting from selling mainland products to Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, the long-term goal for JD.com is to sell global products to consumers worldwide,” Yu said in a Beijing event.
The event also kicked off JD.com’s flurry of marketing activities ahead of the Singles’ Day festival, an emerging billion-dollar battleground for JD.com and its biggest rival Alibaba in their hunt for new growth areas.
By expanding its services to Hong Kong, JD.com is expected to compete head-to-head with Alibaba in the city.
In its Singles’ Day event last year, Alibaba had also used Hong Kong to test the water for its global expansion. The Hangzhou-based company introduced last year Tmall.hk, which allows for payment in Hong Kong dollars through credit cards and Octopus cards, the city’s stored valued smart card.
“We are a late mover in Hong Kong, but our future growth in the city will outpace our competitors,” said Yu, adding that the company has always placed user experience as its top priority
Hong Kong shoppers can pay by credit cards for their JD.com purchases, whose delivery will be handled by JD.com’s business partners, including DHL and UPS.
But Yu said the ultimate globalisation goal would entail allowing payment in local currency, delivery made by a local logistics team and being able to shop on local sites in local languages.
Sales volume on Singles’ Day – first launched by Alibaba in 2009 with wide participation from online and offline retailers – is seen as a benchmark for the country’s swing towards online shopping and a bellwether of Chinese consumption.
In the 24-hour sales event in 2016, Alibaba, the owner of the South China Morning Post, hit a sales record of 120.7 billion yuan (US$18.26 billion), up from 91.2 billion in 2015.