The logistics division of JD.com, Alibaba’s closest e-commerce competitor in China, has raised 1.5 billion yuan (about $218 million) to invest in logistics-related companies and technology. Limited partners in the new fund include JD Logistics and JD.com, as well as undisclosed listed companies and government-led funds, reported Reuters.
JD Logistics, which became a standalone subsidiary in April 2017, has a lot to prove. The unit raised $2.5 billion last year from Hillhouse Capital Group, Sequoia Capital and Tencent, among other investors, in its first major outside funding at a valuation of about $13.5 billion and is also eyeing a potential public offering.
But two months ago, JD.com CEO Richard Liu said in an internal memo that JD Logistics would enact several cost-cutting measures after losing 2.8 billion yuan (about $420 million) last year. These include getting rid of a basic salary for its couriers and instead pay them based on how many packages they deliver. JD.com owns a 81.4 percent stake in the business.
JD Logistics competitors include Alibaba’s Cainiao, which raised undisclosed funding at a reported valuation of $7.7 billion in 2016. Ensuring speedy, cost-efficient deliveries is especially important to JD.com’s business because it carries its own inventory and performs both in-house logistics and service for third parties.
TechCrunch has reached out to JD.com to ask about possible investments. JD Logistics has focused on testing drone deliveries, furthering logistics automation and smart vehicles and backed several companies in Southeast Asia.