Xu Lei, head of JD Retail, second from left, sounds the gong to mark the listing of JD.com on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

SHANGHAI — Thursday was an outsized occasion for JD.com, with its 618 shopping festival bringing in a record 269.24 billion renminbi, or $37.98 billion, a big leap from the $29.2 billion the year prior, on the same day it also successfully carried out a secondary listing in Hong Kong, raising $3.8 billion.

The sale was more closely watched than usual, being the first major national shopping occasion after the COVID-19 outbreak. And while China has hit bumps in the road to recovery post-COVID-19 — since last week, the capital Beijing has been contending with a second outbreak — JD.com stands to benefit from consumers staying at home, making them much more likely to rely on online shopping.

During the peak of COVID-19 in China, the firm saw a strong upward trend in revenue. The company achieved better-than-expected results in the quarter ended March 31, with net revenue rising 20.7 percent compared to a year ago.

A screen shows the running sales figure for the 618 festival.

A screen shows the running sales figure for the 618 festival.  Ng Han Guan/AP/Shutterstock

Within the first 10 minutes of the 618 sale, JD.com’s high-end cosmetics transaction volumes had tripled, while luxury goods category grew by 500 percent, the company shared.

Within two minutes, sales settled from livestreaming, a favored format this year, had surpassed 100 million renminbi, or $14.1 million.

The company in May signed a strategic partnership with leading live streaming platform Kuaishou, allowing users to purchase products provided by JD without leaving the Kuaishou app, also enjoying fast delivery and after-sales service provided by JD.

The 618 festival represents June 18, the day the company was founded back in 1998, and competes with Alibaba’s Singles’ Day or 11/11 sale.

With its own vertically integrated delivery network, JD.com flexed its logistic muscles, promising delivery of 618 festival items within 20 minutes in 22 cities. Total purchases delivered over its network for the festival covered a distance of 734 million kilometers, or 456 million miles.

In both its annual 618 sale and its new listing, the company is leaning hard into developing its logistics capacity further. While the model proves costly, it enabled JD.com to be fully operational during the pandemic. That compared to what its bigger rival Alibaba shared in February — that it had fewer than 20 percent of its usual delivery capacity available.

Earlier this month, JD’s president of international and fashion, Kevin Jiang, said it was even able to provide its white-glove delivery service for luxury orders throughout the entire pandemic nationwide, excluding Hubei province.

Newly armed with almost $4 billion in funds it raised in Hong Kong, JD.com said it would “invest in key supply chain based technology initiatives to further enhance customer experience while improving operating efficiency. The supply chain based technologies can be applied to the company’s key business operations including retail, logistics and customer engagement.”

Related:

JD.com Touts Luxury Strategy Ahead of 618 Shopping Festival >> 

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