Baidu, Tencent help Chinese shopping malls take on Alibaba

Baidu, Tencent and Dalian Wanda Group are establishing a new e-commerce joint venture

Baidu and Tencent are teaming up with a Chinese shopping mall operator in a joint venture that could steal business away from local e-commerce giant Alibaba Group.

The two Internet companies are partnering with Dalian Wanda Group, a Chinese conglomerate, to spend 5 billion yuan (US$811 million) on a new e-commerce company, they announced on Friday.

Wanda will control a 70 percent stake in the joint venture, while Baidu and Tencent will each hold a 15 percent stake.

Baidu, China's largest search engine, and Tencent, a social networking and gaming company, have both made forays into China's online retail space in the past. But neither have managed to crack Alibaba's hold over the country's growing e-commerce market.

Friday's announcement, however, means the two companies will tap Wanda's resources to flesh out a new e-commerce platform that could challenge Alibaba. Wanda, operates dozens of department stores, movie theaters and hotels, but wants to bring more Chinese customers to its shops through online channels.

For consumers, the partnerships could lead to easier ways to shop from Wanda properties. In the future, customers can snap a photo of a dress or a movie poster with their smartphone to find out where to buy the product, or what time the film will show, said Baidu's CEO Robin Li during Friday's announcement.

"If you have a demand, we can not only tell you where you can satisfy your need, but we can do it immediately," Li said.

Tencent's CEO Ma Huateng said people shouldn't confuse the joint venture as another attempt to break into China's online retail sector. "This is more about how do you use the Internet to make an already established economic entity smarter," he said, while speaking at the event.

Friday's announcement comes as both Wanda and Alibaba have been competing in China's retail sector. Alibaba, which operates e-commerce sites Taobao and Tmall, has taken sales away from many large brick-and-mortar stores in China, said Mark Natkin, managing director of Beijing-based Marbridge Consulting.

In response, Chinese retailers are expanding with their own e-commerce sites, but still wanting customers to shop at their physical stores, he added.

"Somebody asked me, 'Who actually goes to these stores anymore?'" Natkin said. "To some degree, the success of these businesses hinges on their ability to incentivize customers to come in."

Both Baidu and Tencent have plenty of online products to help users connect with Wanda's stores. In Baidu's case, the company has its search engine, a major online mapping service, and a popular app downloading platform. Tencent, on the other hand, has its messaging services, including WeChat, a mobile app that has over 438 million monthly active users.

In an email, Tencent said the joint venture will help popularize its online payment services on WeChat, making it a destination to complete purchases from Wanda stores.

"Tencent is behind in the mobile payment space," Natkin said. "They are looking at anything they can do to wrest away market share from Alipay (Alibaba's own payment service)."

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags retaile-commercebaiduAlibaba GroupTencentmobileindustry verticalsinternetmobile applications

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Michael Kan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?