Walmart (NYSE:WMT) has acquired the outstanding shares of Chinese e-commerce retailer Yihaodian. With full ownership, Walmart plans to invest in its e-commerce growth and further consumers' omnichannel experience across online, mobile and physical stores.
Previously Walmart held 51 percent of the e-commerce business and acquired what remained from Ping An of China, a financial services group, and co-founders Gang Yu, former chairman, and Junling Liu, former CEO.
Earlier this month Yu and Liu announced that they were leaving Yihaodian and will continue to serve as chairman emeritus and strategic executive advisor. Wang Lu, currently Walmart's president and CEO of Global eCommerce in Asia, will lead Yihaodian as part of his overall responsibilities.
"Yihaodian has excelled as one of China's top e-commerce businesses. We're excited about the team at Yihaodian and their strong local e-commerce experience," said Neil Ashe, president and CEO of Walmart Global eCommerce. "This local experience, combined with Walmart's global sourcing and our strong local retail presence and supply chain will allow us to deliver low prices on the products customers need in new and exciting ways. Our investment in Yihaodian is part of our long-term commitment to grow in China, and we look forward to continuing to play a positive role in the development of the e-commerce industry."
Walmart's announcement comes just one day after the launch of e-commerce newcomer Jet.com and one week after Amazon's (NASDAQ:AMZN) inaugural Prime Day. The move solidifies Walmart's previous commitment to expanding its presence in the online shopping arena.
Last month the big-box retailer announced a test of a membership service that would allow Walmart shoppers to pay an annual fee in order to receive perks such as free shipping. Similar to the flat fee paid by Prime members—who can now get same-day delivery in 14 markets—Walmart is pulling out all of the stops as it continues to play with winning e-commerce models that can hold up against Amazon's rapid, inexpensive shipping model, and now Jet's inexpensive alternatives for shoppers.
Walmart also recently announced that digital innovation was the company's No. 1 priority and simultaneously rolled out new mobile intiatives.
-See this Walmart press release
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