China’s JD.com Bags $400 Million Stake in Luxury Retailer Farfetch

JD.com has acquired a US$397 million stake in British luxury shopping site Farfetch in a partnership that leverages JD’s logistics and social media know-how alongside Farfetch’s global influence as a leading luxury e-tailer. JD.com will become one the company’s biggest shareholders and JD.com founder Richard Liu will take a seat on its board of directors.Just weeks after announcing it was going to do more to cater to China’s online luxury shoppers through premium delivery services, China’s number two e-commerce giant JD.com has formed a major alliance with the intent to boost traffic from affluent clients. The pair have also signed a “strategic partnership” that will help Farfetch crack China. Despite the investment, JD and Farfetch remain competitors: fashion houses can continue to sell their product on either platform.The deal, which values the London-based start-up at over USD1 billion, will see JD.com market Farfetch’s online fashion platform across China. These will include JD Pay, which will be the preferred payments partner, and Baitiao, JD Finance’s consumer microcredit channel.The announcement comes as JD is directing its attention to high-end luxury and fashion to meet the rising demand among its upwardly mobile customers.Prior to the JD.com investment, the largest funding raised by Farfetch was its US$110-million Series F financing round in May past year. “We have always believed that the long-term trend of Chinese e-commerce is toward quality over price, and this partnership with Farfetch further extends our lead in the battle for the future of China’s upwardly mobile consumers”.The UK e-commerce company, which has raised now $701.5m to date, will enter into a “strategic partnership” with the Chinese firm in an attempt to increase its market position in the Asian nation.JD now seeks to invest and partner with more e-commerce providers around the world, President of International Winston Cheng said in an interview. The company is a little like Amazon in China but is better known for consumer electronics and mid-market clothing than luxury, something it is trying to change.