Wanda plans $800mn JV with Baidu, Tencent
August 30 2014 09:30 PM

Wanda chairman Wang Jianlin (centre) holds hands with Tencent chief executive officer Pony Ma (right) and Baidu chairman and CEO Robin Li (left), in Shenzhen on Friday.

AFP/Beijing

 

China’s Wanda Group, headed by the country’s richest man, is joining Internet giants Baidu and Tencent to set up an e-commerce platform costing more than $800mn, it said yesterday.

The three Chinese companies will initially invest five billion yuan ($813mn) in the project, Wanda chairman Wang Jianlin told a news conference in Shenzhen, adding their total funding could reach 20bn yuan within five years.

Wanda will hold a 70% stake in the joint venture, while Baidu and Tencent will take 15% each, he added.

China’s online shopping market is dominated by Alibaba, the Internet behemoth that is planning a huge US flotation, but Wanda denied the new platform was intended to challenge existing e-commerce operators.  The new entity aims to integrate Wanda’s offline retail business with search, location and communication services offered by Baidu and Tencent to build an online-to-offline (O2O) platform, a Wanda statement said.

Wang is China’s richest man with a net worth of $16bn and owns 75 department stores, 85 shopping plazas and 51 five-star hotels, according to publisher Forbes.

His private conglomerate bought US cinema chain AMC in 2012 and last year acquired British yacht maker Sunseeker.  Baidu operates a Chinese version of Google while Tencent owns the country’s most popular messaging app WeChat, which had 438mn monthly active users as of June.

“O2O could be the biggest cake in the e-commerce area but we haven’t seen any single O2O platform,” Wang said at the news conference, according to an online transcript.

 

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