China's e-commerce giant JD is still on course to enter the United States this year, its founder Richard Liu said at the latest iteration of the World Economic Forum held this week in Davos, Switzerland. The company already announced its intentions to take on Amazon and other online retailers in the country late last year, with its latest estimate putting its stateside launch in the second half of 2018. Mr. Liu said JD is now fundraising in order to finance its latest venture and is considering selling a small stake in its logistics unit to Tencent as part of these efforts. In an interview with Bloomberg, Mr. Liu revealed the deal should be concluded by mid-February, adding that JD will spare no expense in order to maximize its chances of a successful U.S. launch.
JD is planning to initially enter the country via Los Angeles as the city of four million hosts a significant number of Chinese immigrants and their descendants. The move would be just a start of much grander international ambitions that wouldn't stop with the U.S. as JD is aiming to have half of its total revenues generated overseas ten years from now, according to Mr. Liu, though some industry watchers are labeling such ambitions as unrealistic. Simultaneously with its debut in Los Angeles, the online retailer will also start a European push, as per its previous comments on the matter. The company is still unlikely to enter the stateside market on its own and is instead interested in striking partnerships with domestic firms.
JD is facing numerous obstacles on the road to fulfilling its international ambitions, especially the ones in the U.S. Besides deeply entrenched rivals like Amazon, the company may also encounter regulatory opposition to establishing a strong stateside presence as Washington is presently pushing a protectionist agenda and has already publicly clashed with Beijing over preventing Huawei and ZTE from entering its network infrastructure market. While JD's business model and operations are much more straightforward, that doesn't guarantee a smooth U.S. launch as trade-related tensions between U.S. and China keep rising. Amazon has yet to directly address its plans for resisting losing market share to JD in its home country and Europe.