JD.com’s market share isn’t as large as Alibaba Group and it doesn’t enjoy the same high profile in the U.S. yet, but it’s eager to change that. The e-commerce company, one of China’s largest with 118 million active users, opened its first office in the U.S. yesterday.
Based in Santa Clara, the location not only has a research and development lab, but will also liaison with American companies as JD.com grows its cross-border retail business. The Santa Clara office is still hiring, but JD.com expects it to have about 100 employees.
The sale of imported goods, which have a reputation for better quality and safety standards, to affluent Chinese consumers remains an important vertical for e-commerce companies even as the country’s economy slows.
JD.com launched a platform for U.S. brands in July. The company hasn’t disclosed exact figures yet, but spokesman Josh Gartner says the number of brands on it is expanding rapidly and that North American products are the most popular imported items among its customers.
Gartner told TechCrunch that having an office in Silicon Valley will allow JD.com to attract more engineers and give its employees flexibility about where they are based. It also brings JD.com closer to potential partners in Silicon Valley as it builds its big data technology, which will help its predictive algorithms not only deliver more accurate recommendations to shoppers, but also figure out what users in different neighborhoods are likely to order. Since JD.com operates its own logistics network, this helps it improve delivery times and warehouse operation.