The battle for online supremacy in China has heated up this week with Asia’s largest internet company, Tencent, buying a 15% stake in JD.com, China’s answer to Amazon or BestBuy.
Tencent is the fourth largest company in the world, behind Google, Apple and Ebay, with a valuation of around $150 billion. The company’s interests include social networks, web portals and online gaming and it owns a number of online brands which are well known in China. These include QZone, a social networking, Tencent Weibo – a microblogging platform and WeChat, a popular mobile messaging service.
It has been reported that Tencent will pay around $215 million for the stake. The company is expected to raise $1.5bn from an initial public offering in the US, after which Tencent’s stake could increase to 20%. Tencent hopes the deal will allow the company to compete with Alibaba, the country’s leader in Ecommerce.
Tencent has already confirmed plans to integrate some of its other services with JD.com – specifically an integration of the WeChat messaging service with the site. We’ll be watching these developments closely.
Read the full story on the New York Times’ DealBook financial news service.