JD.com, China’s second-largest ecommerce company by sales behind leader Alibaba, on Monday announced the opening of its first U.S. office — a research and development center located in Silicon Valley. The focus is expected to be on cloud computing, mobile applications, and big-data infrastructure.
The news comes as rival Alibaba also makes an increasingly aggressive push into the U.S., having just opened its second data center in Silicon Valley last week. Both companies are locked in a fierce battle for ecommerce market share on their home turf of China, and both want to be better understood by consumers in the West. Earlier this year, JD launched a dedicated section on its website called “U.S. Mall,” where consumers in China can get their hands on imported American products.
“Given the scope and strength of American brands, products and capabilities, the U.S. was the obvious choice as we sought a location for our first office outside of Asia,” JD’s founder and chief executive, Richard Liu, said in a statement. “We are excited to increase our US presence by establishing an operation in the heart of Silicon Valley.”
Alibaba still seems to be ahead in the push into the U.S. It just inked a deal with the United States Postal Service (USPS) last month, as cross-border ecommerce is expected to hit $1 trillion by 2020. But JD clearly doesn’t want to be left behind. Like Alibaba, it has a full-blown English-language version of its website, where buyers from around the world can get ahold of goods sourced by suppliers in China.
JD listed on the NASDAQ back in May of last year as JD.com, which it says was the largest listing of the year. That year, it recorded net revenue of $18.5 billion, and it now claims nearly 120 million active customers on its platform. JD hopes the new U.S. offices will “provide both rotational job possibilities for engineers in China and opportunities for certain skilled technical workers in the area.”