JD.com Invests $103 Million in Produce Wholesaler Dili Group
What’s new: JD.com will spend HK$798 million ($103 million) to acquire a 5.37% stake in a produce wholesale market operator as part of the e-commerce giant’s effort to build its fresh-food supply system.
A wholly owned subsidiary of JD.com entered an agreement to subscribe for 478 million shares of Hong Kong-listed China Dili Group at HK$1.67 a share, according to a regulatory filing with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
The investment will make JD.com the second-largest shareholder of Dili Group, which operates 10 agricultural produce wholesale markets in China. The subscription price represents a 16.5% discount to Dili Group’s Dec. 24 closing price of HK$2.
Dili Group’s shares surged 26% Monday to HK$2.52, resulting in a HK$400 million investment gain for JD.com.
The background: As the Covid-19 pandemic boosts demand for fresh produce, major internet companies have increased their deployment of fresh-food supply chains. Xu Lei, CEO of JD Retail, said in the third-quarter earnings call that he has seen robust growth in fresh produce sales.
JD.com’s major rival Alibaba is also investing to build warehouses for agricultural produce processing and logistics. In 2020, Alibaba built five such warehouses across the country, and it plans to add three to five more next year.
Pinduoduo CEO Chen Lei said in the third-quarter earnings call that the company will continue to invest heavily in agricultural science and technology research and development and work with partners to build cold-chain storage for agricultural produce.
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