Walmart and JD.com are offering more choices for Chinese shoppers ahead of Singles Day, one of the world's biggest online shopping days of the year.
That includes two-hour delivery services at some Walmart stores and a Walmart global store on JD Worldwide, JD.com's cross-border platform.
Walmart bought an initial stake in JD.com, China's no. 2 e-commerce site, this year in a deal that gave JD.com ownership of its Chinese e-commerce site Yihaodian. Earlier this month, Walmart increased its stake in JD.com to 10.8 per cent from 5.9 per cent.
The world's largest retailer is trying to improve its business in China, the globe's most populous country that is lucrative but challenging. In China, Walmart faces a business that has been slow and uneven.
Its online business makes up a fraction of the overall online Chinese market compared to Alibaba, which is No. 1 online, and JD.com. But the recent moves underscore how Walmart is accelerating its efforts to cater to online Chinese shoppers who are dramatically increasing their purchases on their smartphones.
Singles Day was launched by Chinese college students in the 1990s as a version of Valentine's Day for people without romantic partners. The Nov. 11 timing was based on the four singles of 11.11. Unattached young people would treat each other to dinner or bestow gifts to woo someone and end their single status. It became a shopping bonanza as sellers of everything from necklaces to TVs moved to cash in on the marketing opportunity, and it is now China's answer to Cyber Monday in the United States—the day after Thanksgiving weekend, when retailers have their busiest online sales day.
Walmart said late Wednesday that now more than 20 of its Walmart stores in China offer two-hour delivery services for customers ordering on JD Daojia, the grocery and fresh goods business of the New Dada joint venture with JD.com. The number of stores is expected to double by the end of the year.
On Thursday, an exclusive Sam's Club flagship store launched on JD.com. It offers millions of Chinese customers access to premium products with JD.com's same- and next-day deliver Walmart plans to use JD.com's nationwide logistics network and stock Sam's Club merchandise in JD.com warehouses. Walmart also says all JD.com users will be able to buy Sam's Club products at membership prices during a 10-day introduction period following the official launch. Sam's Club has been a bright spot in Walmart's business in China as it worked hard to offer top-quality products that appeal to affluent Chinese consumers.
It also launched a Walmart global store on JD Worldwide, providing products imported by Walmart from around the world.