Business

Google To Invest $550 Million In Chinese E-Commerce Behemoth To Rival Amazon, Cozy Up To China

(Photo: LIU JIN/AFP/Getty Images)

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Eric Lieberman Deputy Editor

Google is reportedly set to invest $550 million in a Chinese e-commerce giant, potentially showing that it wants to rival fellow U.S. tech behemoth Amazon and find a way into the partner’s home country.

The deal will include certain stipulations, like the promotion of JD.com items on Google’s shopping platform, according to Reuters. While the investment is not enormous relative to its overall worth, Google’s ultimate goals seem to be focusing on online shopping, a highly profitable market when done right — as evident by Amazon’s success —  and entering a massive market.

With a population of roughly 1.4 billion, China is a highly desired destination for businesses, especially U.S.-based tech companies that want to reap the benefits of serving as many people as possible. But that can come at a cost of seeming hypocritical, as the leaders of such companies often espouse ideals that are in direct conflict with the principles and policies of the nation.

Google pulled its search engine from China in 2010 because of the country’s strict rules relating to censorship, something it didn’t seem to mind years before. But over the last couple of years, the company has signaled it wants to return to the country, like the establishment of a center based in China designed for the development and proliferation of artificial intelligence technology. (RELATED: Chinese Tech Company Swears To Americans It Can Be Trusted After Top US Officials Denounced It)

Google’s investment will provide it with less than a 1-percent stake in JD, a little brother to Alibaba, but still a huge company.

“We are excited to partner with JD.com and explore new solutions for retail ecosystems around the world to enable helpful, personalized and frictionless shopping experiences that give consumers the power to shop wherever and however they want,” said Google Chief Business Officer Philipp Schindler.

For JD, the significance lies in expanding beyond its borders, or more aptly the region. Just like Google, it also wants to capture markets that are untapped, or at least have some room for competitors like the U.S. and Europe.

“This partnership with Google opens up a broad range of possibilities to offer a superior retail experience to consumers throughout the world,” Jianwen Liao, JD.com’s chief strategy officer, said in a statement made available to The Daily Caller News Foundation. “This marks an important step in the process of modernizing global retail. As we celebrate our June 18 anniversary sale, this partnership opens a new chapter in our history.”

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