An employee of JD in Xi'an, Shaanxi Province, sorts delivery packages.
China's second-largest e-commerce player JD announced on Tuesday a strategic investment in Tiki.vn, Vietnam's leading business-to-consumer e-commerce platform, expanding its presence in the Southeast Asia market amid fierce competition from Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and Amazon.com Inc.
JD co-led the Series C round of financing of Tiki with Vietnamese online gaming and messaging firm VNG Corp. The company did not disclose the amount involved, but it will become one of Tiki's largest shareholders upon the completion of the investment.
The Chinese e-commerce giant will partner with Tiki in a range of areas, including merchandising, cross-border trade, logistics and fulfillment, technology, financing and operational capabilities.
The partners said they will also cooperate to offer consumers a wider, more authentic selection of global brands, while helping Vietnamese local brands to expand internationally via JD's global platform.
"With JD's expertise in leveraging social media for e-commerce, Tiki's partnership with VNG in social networks and mobile payments is a natural fit as we aim to provide differentiated services to suppliers and consumers in Vietnam," said Winston Cheng, president of JD's international business.
"We believe JD, with its proven track record in superior user experience, procurement, logistics and technology, will be an invaluable asset for Tiki as we work to become Vietnam's top e-commerce platform," said Son Tran, Tiki's founder and CEO.
JD launched its Indonesia business in 2015 and formed its joint venture with Thai conglomerate Central Group to enter Thailand in 2017. With its investment in Tiki, it has added Vietnam to its growing Southeast Asia presence.
Founded in 2010, Tiki is the fastest-growing B2C e-commerce company in Vietnam.
It initially sold e-books, but has since diversified to become an all-encompassing marketplace, selling goods such as toys, digital devices, and lifestyle and beauty products.
"The investment in a Vietnamese e-commerce firm will enhance JD's competitiveness and widen its presence in Southeast Asia by leveraging its advantages in global logistics, supply chains, and experience and technology in platform operation," said Lyu Haoze, an analyst at China E-Commerce Research Center.
Lyu said the move will further expand JD's influence and brand awareness in the global market, as well as intensify competition among major e-commerce players.
Alibaba has invested heavily in payment and e-commerce ventures in Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia. Amazon has launched its subscription-based Prime service in Singapore.