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People's Daily Online>>China Business

It's full speed ahead for operator of 360buy.com

By Chen Limin  (China Daily)

13:50, February 22, 2012

A woman strolls by the 360buy logo in Beijing. Jingdong Mall, which operates the e-commerce website 360.com, has diversified its services. (Photo/China Daily)

BEIJING - Jingdong Mall, a major Chinese online retailer, has been in and out of the spotlight.

With the aggressive expansion of its business portfolio, frequent changes in senior management, and rumored plans for going public, Jingdong enjoys both admiration as a possible Chinese answer to Amazon Inc and doubts about problems with its rapid expansion.

Starting as an online shopping site for electronic products, the company has been making greater efforts in recent years to broaden its service portfolio to fend off competition.

It started to offer e-books this week. Last year, it ventured into online travel services, and it began to offer a wide range of products, from clothes to food, even earlier.

Sales of non-electronic products account for 20 percent of Jingdong Mall's total, said Richard Liu, chief executive officer of Beijing Jingdong Century Trading Co, the operator of online retail website 360buy.com.

Half of the company's sales will come from non-electronic products in the coming three years, Liu said on Monday.

Revenues have risen along with its rapid expansion. Liu estimated earlier that for last year, sales probably reached 28 billion yuan ($4.4 billion) to 30 billion yuan, compared with 10.2 billion yuan a year earlier.

However, not all analysts see this rapid growth as a worry-free development.

"Jingdong has greatly boosted its sales, but it has paid a price - low profit," said Chen Shousong, an analyst with domestic research company Analysys International.

Jingdong's gross margin is probably less than 10 percent, he estimated, as electronic products, which contribute most to its revenues, usually have a much lower margin than products such as clothing and books.

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