The deal marks a significant step up in Shopify’s China expansion and is another step in JD’s internationalization efforts.
JD said it will open an “accelerated channel” for brands on Shopify to begin selling via its cross-border e-commerce site in China. Merchants can set up shop in three-to-four weeks rather than the typical 12 months that it takes foreign brands to begin selling in China, JD said.
JD will handle the price conversion as well as logistics from U.S. to China. JD has its own logistics arm with a vast network of delivery workers and warehouses which the company sees as a competitive advantage over its rival Alibaba.
Shopify and JD will also “collaborate to simplify access and compliance for Chinese brands and merchants looking to reach consumers in Western markets,” they said.
Shopify has dipped its toe into the China market before. In 2020, the company began allowing merchants to accept payment via Alipay, one of China’s two popular digital wallets. Alipay is run by Alibaba affiliate Ant Group.
But the tie-up with JD is its most significant push yet, as the Chinese e-commerce giant has more than 550 million annual active customers.
For JD, bringing more foreign brands and products onto its platform can help it differentiate from its rival Alibaba.
Meanwhile, the Chinese government has set a target to increase national online retail sales by around 44% between 2021 and 2025. JD and Alibaba will be a key part of that push.