China's JD.com Inc is in advanced talks with Thailand's Central Group to launch an e-commerce joint venture in Thailand with a planned total investment of 500 million U.S. dollars, Reuters reported on Wednesday.
The venture will help China's second largest e-commerce retailer expand its overseas business beyond Indonesia and boost its presence in Southeast Asia where rivals Alibaba Group Holding and Amazon are ramping up competition with new services, such as a quick delivery service in Singapore.
Currently, JD.com's overseas investments are mainly based in Indonesia, which include an e-commerce platform and travel start-up Traveloka.
JD.com CEO Richard Liu told media that the company is planning to enter the Thai market later this year in order to use Thailand as a hub of service for other countries in the region, like Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore, and even beyond.
According to Reuters, the joint venture with Central Group, owned by the billionaire Chirathivat family, Thailand's third-richest, will focus on e-commerce and finance sectors.
The deal has yet to be finalized as the companies are unable to agree on ownership terms, Reuters said.
Valued at 900 U.S. million dollars, Thailand's e-commerce market is expected to grow by 29 percent over the next 10 years, according to a report from Google and Temasek published in 2016.
The report also pointed out that the e-commerce market in Southeast Asia will grow 16-fold to 88 billion U.S. dollars by 2025.