Apr 27, 2021|

WRC Connected 2021: Chenkai Ling: More Players are Becoming JD’s Partners as its Business Develops


by Ella Kidron

JD’s evolution from retailer to supply chain-based company means that it has an even bigger pool of partners to work with. Mr. Chenkai Ling, Vice President of JD.com, and Head of Strategy, JD Retail, shared his views on this during the World Retail Congress’ WRC Connected 2021 virtual event on Apr. 26. The discussion was moderated by Benjamin Zheng, lead partner of global strategy consulting firm EY-Parthenon.

Ling reiterated the importance of JD’s positioning as a supply-chain based technology and services company. “With this definition, which means we are not only a retailer, the boundary [of who can be our partners] has been significantly widened.” Players who might have previously been perceived as competitors from a pure retail standpoint, are partners. Ling identified two key growth priorities for JD. “One is we will continue to expand our retail business, which can help us stay closer to the customer…the other is that we will continue accumulating and strengthening capabilities that we use to allow our business to run smoothly and use these capabilities to empower our partners.”

As an example of how JD intimately collaborates with partners, JD uses its logistics, AI and advanced data analytics capabilities to help brick and mortar retailers to increase their efficiency and better understand their customers.

The company is also pursuing partnerships in some of the hottest spaces and industries. “In China, there are a lot of new retail formats popping up – short videos, livestreaming commerce and content commerce,” explained Ling. JD’s partnership with Kuaishou, a leading e-commerce livestreaming platform, provides a good example. “Last year we formed a strategic partnership with Kuaishou,” said Ling. JD became Kuaishou’s merchandise mid-tier platform, which means JD provides the products and merchandise capabilities to Kuaishou.

A final perspective concerns partnership with brands. “Previously brands and retailers played a zero-sum game; we earn one more dollar, they would lose one dollar,” said Ling. Right now, however, using JD’s capabilities, the company works directly with the brands to identify opportunities, which ultimately “increases the pie” for all.

Watch the whole session by registering for Retail Connected 2021 here.





Chenkai Ling, JD.com speaks with Benjamin Zheng, EY at Retail Connected 2021