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JD.com, Thai retailer Central Group form $500 mln e-commerce JV

Reuters

BANGKOK (Reuters) - JD.com Inc <JD.O> and top Thai retailer Central Group will form a $500 million joint venture in e-commerce and financial technology, the companies said, as China's second biggest e-commerce company seeks to boost its presence in Southeast Asia.

The tie-up will help JD.com expand its overseas business beyond Indonesia to take on rivals Alibaba Group Holding <BABA.N> and Amazon <AMZN.O> in Southeast Asia, where they are ramping up services such as quick delivery in Singapore.

Each company will contribute $250 million to the venture.

"Working with Thailand's strongest retail conglomerate, with a massive shopping mall and department store network, gives us a huge competitive advantage as we expand further into Southeast Asia," JD.com CEO Richard Liu said in a statement.

JD.com will provide technology and logistics support to the venture, while Central will contribute with its merchant relationships, brand recognition, and customer insight collected through its loyalty programs.

Reuters reported in August JD.com was in advanced talks for the joint venture.

(Reporting by Chayut Setboonsarng; Editing by Amrutha Gayathri and Sunil Nair)