JD.com Quietly Exits Australia as Losses Widen


By Michael Smith, Caixin Global (China)

May 09, 2019


Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com has closed its office in Australia less than 15 months after opening with ambitious expansion plans, part of a company-wide response to widening losses.


The Beijing-based company sells Australian food, dairy products, vitamins and cosmetics to millions of Chinese consumers. It confirmed on Wednesday it had quietly closed its Melbourne office, which had opened with great fanfare and the backing of the Victorian government in February last year.


A spokesperson for JD.com, which reports quarterly financial results on Friday, said: “We are integrating the Australia office into the business in China. Australia’s importance doesn’t change, and the business is going well.”


JD.com said there would be no change to its service and partnerships with Australian and New Zealand exporters, which would now be managed by JD.com staff in China. The head of its Australian operations, Patrick Nestrel, has departed. "We continue to build strong partnerships with brands in a range of categories — including wine, health supplements, baby and maternal, food and beverage, cosmetics and others,” the spokesperson said.


However, analysts said the retreat was the latest evidence that the arrival of foreign e-commerce giants such as Amazon, Alibaba and JD.com, were not as big a threat to Australian retailers as previously expected...