Walmart is announcing this evening that it has upped its investment in Yihaodian, a massive B2C e-commerce company based in China. Walmart, which originally funded the retail giant last year, has made another undisclosed investment in Yihaodian to bring Walmart’s total ownership stake to approximately 51 percent. Closing of the transaction is subject to Chinese government regulatory approval, according to the two companies.
Launched in July 2008, Yihaodian offers more than 180,000 products ranging from clothing to grocery to consumer electronics. Less than 3 years after launch, the company boasts a whopping 5,400 employees and logistics operations in Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Wuhan and Chengdu, and delivery stations in 34 cities across China.
Neil Ashe, President and CEO of Walmart Global eCommerce, said, “This investment further enables Walmart to deliver a superb customer experience to Chinese consumers that are already connected to the world through smart phones and social media. We are on track to create the next generation of eCommerce, offering the latest in online innovations to give our customers a unique shopping experience.” Ashe explains that the further investment in Yihaodian also shows Walmart’s belief in retail in China as a growth industry.
In July, Bloomberg reported that Yihaodian is looking at a possible IPO. Yihaodian faces competition from China’s 360buy.com, which has raised money from DST and others.
Over the past year, Walmart has acquired social media technology provider Kosmix, Small Society, and OneRiot.