Move By China’s E-commerce Giant JD Into Silicon Valley Heats Up Market Race

JD2China’s large e-commerce company JD.com has opened its first outpost in the U.S., adding to a trend of Chinese tech leaders moving into the Silicon Valley cluster.

The focus of the new U.S. center for the NASDAQ-listed JD.com is on cloud computing, mobile applications and big-data infrastructure in addition to a research and development lab. Headed by JD Mall’s former chief technical adviser Dennis Weng, the center is projected to grow to about 100 employees, serving as a base to engage U.S. brands looking to reach JD’s 118 million customers. Plans are to hire engineers from China and Silicon Valley as JD.com seeks top-quality R&D for its technology.

The U.S. entry should help Beijing-based JD.com liaise with American companies for expanding its cross-border retail business as both Alibaba, its chief rival, and JD.com go after the U.S. market.

This past July, JD launched a platform for U.S. brands called “U.S. Mall,” which lets consumers in China directly order imported American products. This followed Alibaba’s recent move to sell its U.S. online shopping site 11 Main to OpenSky in New York after initial efforts from a beta in 2014 proved disappointing.

Both JD and Alibaba have English-language versions of their websites, so buyers from around the world can purchase goods sourced by suppliers in China.

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