Walmart has launched its UK retail brand Asda in China via a partnership with China’s second largest ecommerce company JD.com.
Asda will launch a flagship store on JD.com’s cross-border platform, JD Worldwide, giving the brand access to the ecommerce platform’s 226 million customers.
It will sell food and health products, such as biscuits, coffee, tea bags, nuts, energy bars, and foods for babies and children. A number of the products will be from Asda’s Extra Special range and all products will be sourced from the UK.
Asda plans to expand the product range significantly in the coming months to take advantage of Chinese consumers growing appetite for imported products.
The launch is part of a strategic partnership between Walmart and JD.com, which was established in June 2016. The partnership was a change in direction for Walmart, which had planned to compete in China’s booming ecommerce market.
As part of the deal, Walmart sold its online business Yihaodian to JD.com in return for a 5% stake in the ecommerce company – Walmart has since increased its stake in JD.com to 12.1%. The deal also saw JD.com provide the ecommerce platform for Walmart’s Sam’s Club stores across China.
Carol Fung, president of JD Fast Moving Consumer Goods, said the Asda launch marked a “significant step forward” in the Walmart-JD strategic alliance. “Chinese consumers increasingly appreciate and value the quality of British brands and we expect this Asda store to be warmly welcomed by our customers.”
Ben Hassing, senior vice president of ecommerce, Walmart China, said, “The progress that we’ve made in our alliance with JD.com in less than a year provides a hint at the tremendous developments that still lie ahead.”
Asda’s launch comes one month after German supermarket Aldi opened its flagship store on Alibaba’s Tmall Global joining UK retailer Marks & Spencer, which has a store on Tmall. This year Marks & Spencer closed its ten retail stores in China opting to focus solely on ecommerce in the market.