JD.com Inc, China's second-largest e-commerce player, signed a 20-billion-yuan (.9 billion) strategic cooperation agreement with Chinese home appliance maker Midea Group, a move aiming to promote the upgrading and transformation of the appliance industry.
The two sides will deepen cooperation in the fields of intelligent home appliances, smart homes, channel expansion, tailor-made products and big data analysis.
They said the strategic cooperation is a positive means to "vigorously promote the development of real economy and aid the transformation and upgrading of industry"－a key goal of the 2016 Chinese Government Work Report.
Liu Qiangdong, chairman and CEO of JD.com, said the company uses artificial intelligence and automation technologies to optimize the structure of its retail chain. He said this could help a large number of traditional brands enhance efficiency, reduce costs and realize transformation.
"JD.com can provide internet technology, big data analysis and intelligent cloud platforms for manufacturing enterprises. It is an ideal strategic partner for Midea, which is actively seeking transformation," said Fang Hongbo, chairman of Midea.
Fang added that Midea's strong offline sales channels, especially in the county or township market, could help JD.com expand its businesses.
Founded in 1968 in Guangdong province, Midea is a leading global player in consumer appliances, encompassing air-conditioners, refrigerators, laundry appliances, kitchen appliances and various small home appliances. It already sells products through JD.com's Jingdong Mall site.