JD.com, the smaller rival to Chinese e-commerce behemoth Alibaba, has made people notice it again with the announcement that it has acquired Yihaodian.com, which is owned by U.S.-based Walmart.

Interestingly, Walmart tried to buy JD.com five years ago, but when the U.S. company was rebuffed it chose to buy the small startup Yihaodian instead. So the news that JD.com has now bought Walmart's company comes as a 180-degree turn in the relationship, and perhaps mirrors the strength Chinese companies have started to show in their offshore and foreign purchases.

As part of the agreement, Walmart will receive 144,952,250 newly issued JD.com Class A ordinary shares, amounting to approximately 5% of total shares outstanding and the companies will partner in several strategic areas.

The purchase is coined as more like a strategic alliance, and JD.com will take ownership of the Yihaodian marketplace platform assets, including the Yihaodian brand, website and app. Walmart will continue to operate the Yihaodian direct sales business and will be a seller on the Yihaodian marketplace, leveraging its global supply chain to provide customers a wide range of products.

JD.com and Walmart will work together on growing the Yihaodian brand and business under its current name and market position.


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