Wal-Mart Stores said Thursday it has taken full control of Chinese e-commerce company Yihaodian, lifting its stake to 100 percent from 51 percent for an undisclosed sum.
Wal-Mart said Wang Lu, president and chief executive of Wal-Mart global e-commerce in Asia, will lead Yihaodian as part of his responsibilities. Wal-Mart made its preliminary investment in Yihaodian back in 2011. It lifted its stake to 51 percent in 2012.
The world’s largest retailer bought the shares from Ping An, a financial services group, and Yihaodian’s co-founders, former chairman Gang Yu and former chief executive Liu Junling Liu. The two executives announced earlier this month that they were leaving Yihaodian. They will continue to serve the company as chairman emeritus and strategic executive advisor respectively, Wal-Mart said.
“Yihaodian has excelled as one of China’s top e-commerce businesses. We’re excited about the team at Yihaodian and their strong local e-commerce experience,” said Neil Ashe, president and chief executive of Wal-Mart Global eCommerce. “This local experience, combined with Wal-Mart’s global sourcing and our strong local retail presence and supply chain will allow us to deliver low prices on the products customers need in new and exciting ways. Our investment in Yihaodian is part of our long-term commitment to grow in China, and we look forward to continuing to play a positive role in the development of the e-commerce industry.”
Yihaodian was founded in July 2008 as an online supermarket. Wal-Mart said the Chinese retailer currently offers more than 8 million products, including food, personal care items, home goods, apparel and electronics. Wal-Mart said Yihaodian has 100 million registered customers.
Wal-Mart has been stepping up its e-commerce efforts in a bid to compete with Amazon. Earlier this month, it launched its own summer sale to go head to head with the e-commerce giant’s Prime Day.