JD.COM INC -ADR JD
January 18, 2016 - 6:12pm EST by
Paincap
2016 2017
Price: 26.99 EPS 1.13 0
Shares Out. (in M): 1,367 P/E 24 0
Market Cap (in $M): 36,911 P/FCF 0 0
Net Debt (in $M): 0 EBIT 0 0
TEV ($): 36,911 TEV/EBIT 0 0

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  • China
  • E-Commerce
  • Internet
  • Growth stock
  • Logistics
  • TAM
  • Large cap

Description

All visionaries share the same attribute – the ability to remain focused on the long term. Everyday investors talk about how long-term oriented they are, yet when stock prices begin to fluctuate, another part of them take over. I am also vulnerable to these tendencies, and focusing on the long-term can be as illusory and similar to hoping/wishing.

 

Visionaries and successful entrepreneurs go through these obstacles everyday. For every successful one, there are millions that give up on their dreams. For every billionaire, there are billions who don’t get the opportunity to become one.

 

The story of Amazon’s Jeff Bezos or the story of Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and how they became successful are no different than other successful entrepreneurs. The vision to remain focused on the long-term while executing in the short run requires tremendous amount of foresight and discipline.

 

Today, I want to present to you whom I believe to be one of China’s greatest entrepreneurs, JD.com’s founder Richard Liu.

 

His story of how he built up JD.com from nothing all started with the desire to survive in the cutting throat environment of business, and how his childhood influenced him to be the great visionary he is today.

 

The desire to succeed and survive is easily illustrated by JD’s company saying of, “我们要是今天不努力,明天就要倒闭,” which means, “If we don’t work hard today, tomorrow we will go bankrupt.”

 

The structure of this write up is as follows:

 

·      Richard Liu’s background.

·      The history of JD and the vision for the future.

·      Industry/business analysis.

·      Valuation/price targets.

·      Risk factors.

·      Concluding thoughts.

 

Richard Liu’s Humble Beginnings

 

To understand how most companies will be operated, a study of the CEO’s history and his beginnings are just as important as understanding the company’s balance sheet. In order to make an accurate judgment of character, and a CEO’s willingness to forfeit near term profits for the long run, investors must dive deep into the soul of the person and find what drives him/her to success.

 

The story of Liu Qiang Dong (Richard Liu) begins in Suqian, Jiangsu, China in 1974.

Screen Shot 2016-01-18 at 1.05.26 PM.png

 

A battered China was at the end of the Cultural Revolution that began in May of 1966. Richard was born in an era where China was going through drastic changes, and as a result of economic turmoil, Richard’s childhood could be described as anything but prosperous. During that period in time in China, the Communist party eradicated people with wealth and leveled the playing field across all of China. As a kid growing up in an environment like this, Richard and his family never had enough food. In order to keep him and his family full, Richard began fishing in nearby ponds. He would go out early in the morning or late at night to catch fish. Sometimes he would come home empty handed and feel extremely disappointed in himself. He would then strategize and plan out techniques to fish more efficiently.

 

“Childhood was rough. I remember when I was 13, the only food we had was potato. We would eat this three times a day. By the time I went to high school, every time I saw potato, I would throw up,” he said in this interview.

 

In high school, Richard had a life changing teacher. His teacher would preach to them the importance of being a good citizen and how important it was to attend People’s University of China. “It had a profound effect in my life. My teacher was very determined for all of us to go to People’s University of China and study social science. He wanted us to one-day serve people the right way,” he said in this interview.

 

At age 18, Richard ventured to Beijing on his own equipped with a bag of eggs and majored in social sciences at the People’s University of China. In college, Richard was very involved with leadership roles in various organizations, and it made him realize that his major wasn’t going to get him a job. As a side hobby, Richard picked up computer coding and earned some money with programming jobs.

 

Another life changing experience happened while he was attending People’s University of China. As he explained in this interview, the Chinese government offered retirees jobs as parking fee collectors. As he arrived at school one day, an elderly man approached him and asked for bicycle parking fees, and offered Richard a deal. If Richard paid him 0.20 cents RMB, then there would be no receipt given, or he could pay him 0.50 cents RMB for a receipt. This type of shady dealings shocked Richard, and made him realize that the only way to impact change in society is by building something more meaningful to help society. That’s when he decided he wanted to be an entrepreneur.

 

With his mind set and ego stoked, Richard ventured out and bought a restaurant. Young and inexperienced, Richard didn’t want to take a managerial position at the restaurant. Within months, the restaurant closed down due to employee embezzlement and forced Richard into debt of more than RMB 200,000 ($31,000). “I was very disappointed and looked at it from the angle of human nature,” he recalls to FT. “Is man good or evil? How come I treat my employees so well but they do this to me?”

 

Saddled with the burden of having to borrowed the money from his Father to repay the debt, Richard went to work for Japan Life, a Japanese health products company. During his two years of working for Japan Life, Richard learned why his restaurant venture failed so miserably. “During the two years there, I gradually understood that the restaurant bankruptcy was my fault because I had not established management structures, done oversight or established financial systems and procedures,” he said to FT.

 

After his tenure at Japan Life and with his debt paid off, Richard wanted another shot at being an entrepreneur. In 1998, Richard opened his own business Jingdong (JD) in Zhongguancun High-tech Industrial Park in Beijing as a distributor of magneto-optical products. This time, his venture was a success. By 2003, he had opened 12 chain stores and earned RMB 10 million (~$1.5 million).

 

Little did Richard know at that time, the events that year would change JD’s direction forever.

 

The Beginning of 360buy.com (JD)

 

In 2003, severe acute respiratory syndrome or also known as SARS broke out in China resulting in millions of Chinese to stay home. Internet at that time was still in its infancy in China. Jingdong was bleeding cash as all of its customers elected to stay home and shop online instead. Richard didn’t know what to do, and all of his employees were scrambling to find ways to keep the stores running.

 

During a senior management meeting one morning, a manager suggested that Jingdong move its products online. “I’ve never even heard of the internet before this,” quipped Richard. “I barely knew what the internet was let alone how to build a business out of it.” With the help of his team, Jingdong was successful in starting its website, 360buy.com.

 

The online business did remarkable the first year going from 0% of revenue to 5%. Richard had to face a dilemma. It was either Jingdong move its entire business online or shut down its physical retail locations. “I wanted a singular focus,” he said. “That’s how I’ve always done things.”

 

By the end of 2004, the team decided to move the entire operation online. “That was one of the few moments in my life that I had a hard time sleeping. I just threw away 95% of my business to chase after the 5%,” he said in this interview.

 

Despite the near term headwinds, Jingdong grew remarkably over the ensuing years. By 2007, Jingdong had a problem. More than 70% of the complaints came from slow delivery times and inadequate product protection during the delivery process. Richard was not about to throw away his hard earned reputation because of incompetent freight services, and that’s when JD began investing heavily in logistical infrastructure.

 

Throughout the process of building JD, Richard had one singular focus, and that was to provide the best user experience possible. In this singular philosophy, he believed that profitability and scale were derived from the fact that users have to love the platform.

 

JD’s strategy can be categorized into three things:

 

1. Product

2. Price

3. Service

 

Richard and his team believed that the only way to win the ecommerce war is to have consumer mindshare. As Richard puts it, “The company that wins the customer’s mindshare, the company wins the ecommerce war.”

 

JD Present Day Business Analysis

 

Like JD’s unique founder, Richard Liu, JD’s business model is one of a kind. In order to understand JD’s business, one must understand the strategy listed above, which will be emphasized over and over again throughout this write up. The focus on customer service, product, and price are the only things that will win consumer mindshare in the future. Ecommerce companies that focus on near term profitability are kidding themselves. A classic example for industry watchers is the comparison to Amazon. With Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s near term profitability has never been a focus for the company.

 

“We see customers as our invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little better.” ~ Jeff Bezos

 

In order to provide the best customer experience in China, an ecommerce retailer needs to be able to control two aspects of the business most U.S. companies would never have to worry about:

 

1.     Counterfeits

2.     Package Delivery

 

Counterfeits

 

Counterfeit goods are a massive problem in China. The problem isn’t so prevalent in the U.S., but instances do happen with the likes of eBay and Amazon. Although in Amazon’s instance, counterfeit goods do still exist due to the nature that Amazon does allow third party retailers sell directly to consumers. The inability to control and source third party products restricts an ecommerce’s ability to control counterfeits.

 

This is where JD is drastically different than all of its ecommerce competitors. It sources all of its products, stores it in its own company warehouses, and distributes the products to consumers. This is the end-to-end solution that Richard envisioned when he started expanding JD online. “Controlling counterfeit is the only way for an ecommerce business to thrive in this kind of environment. Reputation is everything,” he said confidently in this interview.

 

Package Delivery

 

In the U.S., ecommerce businesses can rely on companies like USPS, UPS, and FedEx to deliver goods efficiently, professionally, and timely. China’s ecommerce businesses face another set of problems when it comes to the quality of the freight system.

 

Screen Shot 2016-01-18 at 1.05.32 PM.png

 

Alibaba and JD’s competitors face an immense shipping problem. Thanks to exploding ecommerce sales, Chinese logistics companies pop up one after another undercutting each other’s price while simultaneously lowering the quality of the standards in the industry. According to a 2013 report, China is estimated to have more than 35,000 logistics companies. That number is sure to have increased since then. At the mean time, Alibaba and its competitors are having a hard time shipping the products to consumers in a timely manner especially during peak season such as the 11/11 day in China.

 

 

Screen Shot 2016-01-18 at 1.05.38 PM.png

 

Source

 

Inevitably, as the ecommerce segment expands to an expected $1 trillion market by 2020, logistics companies will have a very difficult time in fulfilling the orders in a timely manner. This scale problem will be self-fulfilling with the rapid growth. Companies like Alibaba, which doesn’t control any logistical infrastructure will be forced to make hard decisions then to invest in logistical infrastructure. As opposed to investing directly into warehouses and its own logistical infrastructure, Alibaba has chosen to take stakes in logistics companies. I think this will prove to be unfruitful as a company the size of Alibaba should not leave the execution of its core business strategy in the hands of another company. While I understand Alibaba is trying to conserve capital by investing in higher IRR projects, the fact that it won’t control any logistical assets will prove to be a great mistake when the market expands beyond its capacity.

 

In 2014, the Chinese government gave approval to FedEx and UPS access to 58 and 33 city licenses. They will now compete against China Post, which controls 22% of the express courier market share in China, and Shentong Express and S.F. Express. These two private Chinese firms hold 12% and 18% of market share, respectively. Despite efforts trying to expand in China, rival firm DHL experienced first-hand just how insanely difficult it is to compete in China’s courier market. In June 2011, DHL decided that it was time to exit the China market.

 

“The express delivery giant said intense completion and the highly fragmented nature of the market made it difficult for its joint venture with Sinotrans to make money. Jerry Hsu, chief executive of DHL Express Asia-Pacific, also said it was difficult to get customers in China to appreciate the value of its core strengths of speed and reliability.” - Source

 

Intense competition and pricing will make many couriers reluctant to invest vast sums of money into China’s logistics infrastructure. As Richard said in this interview, “The thing about the courier market is that no matter how much money you have, $100 billion or $1 trillion, no competitor would be able to replicate the vast logistics network we built out at JD, because it requires time, execution, and the right people to run the delivery channels. In order to get the right employees, companies will need to have employees that are capable of training new entry level employees the standards and quality of the delivery system. This requires at least five years to start up as each company would need to fire the unqualified employees while retaining the high quality ones. I don’t see how any company can build the scale needed within the next ten years.”

 

Since 2007, Richard understood the importance of logistics and how controlling the delivery part of the ecommerce market will be vital in the future. As of 2014, JD operated 123 warehouses with an aggregate gross floor area of approximately 2.2 million square meters in 40 cities and 3,210 delivery stations and pickup stations in 1,862 counties and districts across China. JD had 35,282 delivery personnel, 12,580 warehouse staff and 7,758 customer service personnel. Over 80% of the orders were delivered on the day of the order or the day after. JD provides same-day delivery in 134 counties and districts under JD’s 211 program and next-day delivery in another 866 counties and districts across China.

 

JD’s 211 program is a program where it insures that if a customer orders an item before 11:00 A.M., the product will be delivered by 6:00 P.M. on the same day. And if a product is ordered before 11:00 P.M., the product will be delivered by 11:00 A.M. the next day. No competitor is able to do this.

 

JD also heavily scrutinizes in quality control in the delivery channel. It controls the quality of its product on one end from suppliers insuring that they are legitimate products, while simultaneously controlling quality on the delivery end. Each quarter, if delivery personnel has more than two complaints, then that person is fired on the spot. If a delivery station has more than two personnel get fired, then the delivery station manager gets fired. Quality is highly touted in JD, and Richard takes pride in JD’s ability to deliver the best product at the best price in the best fashion.

 

“Jingdong Mall’s business model is no secret. Many of our competitors do the same thing. The difference is whether we can continue to improve price, product and service performance. I devote 30% of my time every day at work to reading customers’ emails, and our old customers also e-mail me directly, which helps us improve service,” Richard said in this interview.

 

Annually, top level management performs delivery tasks for a day. This helps Richard and his fellow executives understand how they can better improve the delivery process. “This has really helped us understand the weakness and the strengths of our delivery channel. It’s also allowed us insights into how we can do it better going forward,” he said in this interview.

 

Cost Control

 

“There are two kinds of companies – those that work to raise prices and those that work to lower them.” ~Jeff Bezos

 

“Most companies in Dongguancun emphasize to their employees the virtue of selling something that’s worth RMB 1.00 for RMB 1.20 or sometimes even RMB 2.00. JD’s operating philosophy is to sell something that’s worth RMB 1.00 for RMB 0.90, but make the same amount of money as if we sold it for RMB 1.00. This is where we can offer the most value to our suppliers and customers. That’s how we treat our partners,” Richard said in this interview.

 

The only way for JD to offer products cheaper than its competitors is to cut both its own margins while simultaneously cut costs to bare bone levels. “At JD, we are only striving to make 3% - 5% in the long run in each product we sell. The low cost, low price tag model will continue even if we get to become the biggest player in the market. That’s because I want to offer both of my partners (suppliers and customers) the best deals they can get. That’s what JD is all about,” Richard says excitedly in this interview.

 

On the cost end, JD cuts costs all the way down to the way each product is packaged.

 

Screen Shot 2016-01-18 at 1.05.46 PM.png

 

Source

 

By insuring that all costs are under control, investors can see that as a percentage of net sales, total costs (S&G, marketing, technology, order processing) is 11% versus Amazon’s 27%. JD is also able to have shorter inventory days (52 vs Amazon’s 95).

 

Management Training Program

 

Philip Fisher is widely regarded as the father of growth investing. He’s also exceptionally famous for developing the scuttlebutt method. In my process of researching JD, I attempted to answer question #9 in the scuttlebutt process.

 

9. Does the company have depth to its management?

 

JD is a truly unique company with a unique vision and a unique strategy in training future executives. Every year, the company would go to universities across China looking for students with a rough start in life. The purpose of this is to find the employees with the most drive and determination. One of the criteria’s during this hiring process is to conduct a family background check. If the family comes from a wealthy background, the employee is automatically eliminated from the hiring process.

 

As Richard explains in this interview, “We only want people with a rough start in life. When we look to hire young college grads, one of the most important things we look for is the person’s ability to work hard not just for 3-6 months, but 10-30 years. We need to find people who are aligned to the philosophy of working hard everyday.”

 

Each “trainee” goes through a rigorous three-year training program starting as a delivery person for the first six months. Following the first job, each trainee would rotate through each division of the company and spend six months to develop the required understanding of how each department works. After the training program, each trainee would be assigned a managerial position in the desired department.

 

In order to insure that each trainee is keenly aligned with JD’s managerial philosophy, Richard would personally spend his leisure time getting to know each trainee. This has helped in retaining all of its trainees, while simultaneously increasing the quality level in JD’s future managerial positions. Over 80% of senior level executives were brought up from the company’s own talent pool. “Whenever one of our employees leave to work for another firm, their salaries would go up substantially. This is because JD trains each and every employee exceptionally well,” he said in this interview.

 

Management Philosophy

 

After Richard’s experience with his failed restaurant venture and his strong desire for honesty, JD is one of the most intense companies to work for. Most high level executives that join JD would receive pay cuts of up to 30% in some instances, and work hours would normally increase 1.5x. Each morning at exactly 8:30 A.M., all managers around the country would dial in for a conference call. The purpose of the call is to go through the problems from the previous day and receive updates from corporate headquarter. Each division would be assigned yearly goals, and each division head is expected to exceed them.

 

During the price war battle with Suning on 8/15/2013, one of China’s largest brick and mortar electronics distributors, JD set up a division that was designed to beat Suning at whatever it threw at JD. The team worked night and day to insure that JD’s price was lower than Suning’s.

When JD ventured into books, an area specialized by DangDang a hated rival, Richard said to his publishing team, “If you made a penny over the next three years, I will fire all of you.” His fierce desire to want to give customers the best deal drives everyone at JD, and is what propelled JD to be the growth giant it is today.

 

Similar to Jeff Bezos’s strategy at Amazon, near term profit isn’t the focus, the only focus is to insure all consumers are happy with the experience on JD.

 

Competitive Advantages

 

JD has two distinctive and obvious competitive advantages.

 

-    JD controls its own logistical infrastructure, which allows it to control delivery quality, speed, and accuracy. If done correctly, the delivery process adds a lot of consumer mindshare as a word of mouth effect impacts the e-commerce reach. JD has grown faster than the industry’s CAGR of ~30% because of this distinctive advantage.

-    JD’s obsession with controlling the authenticity of its supplies. Although most won’t consider this to be an edge in the U.S. This edge will be very apparent when the Chinese consumers spend more money for goods that require authenticity verifications. JD has taken advantage of its platform and its reputation for never selling a counterfeit to team up with global brands to offer consumers authentic products. If JD continues its pursuit of never selling a counterfeit, then it can take mindshare from consumers.

 

To explain in lengths why other competitors can’t do this would take a great deal of page space, so I will attempt to highlight it below:

 

-    Chinese logistical infrastructure is very dated. Couriers ride bikes with capacity of 5-10 packages per delivery. The quality level of these mom and pop couriers are rock bottom, but so are the prices. Due to the competitive landscape, and low barriers to entry into the shipping business in China, there are currently ~35,000 couriers competing against each other for business. Alibaba’s Taobao has always had a problem getting the packages delivered in a timely manner, and so has its Tmall platform. Customer’s number one complaint is the unreliability of the shipping and the quality it’s delivered in. Some packages would be delivered damaged, which then would frustrate customers to have to pay for return packaging. JD, on the other hand, would send delivery personnel to pick up return packages saving consumers from the hassle of having to pack and ship the packages themselves. Due to the competitive landscape, industry competitors are deterred from investing heavily in the quality of its delivery system, and the speed in which it delivers products. Because shipping rates are so low ($1.50 to ship a product), companies do not find it enticing to invest in logistical infrastructure. This combination of massive competition, low barriers to entry, and low economic return will make JD the leading logistical company in China.

-    A bulk of the current e-commerce sales belong in the C2C segment of the market. Market research have indicated that C2C comprise 60% of e-commerce sales with C2C contributing far less by 2020 (35%). As JD belongs in the B2C segment, Alibaba’s Taobao is currently dominating the C2C market with 80% market share, while its Tmall (B2C) platform is 50% of the market. One aspect that makes JD so attractive is that there’s no way to control counterfeits in the C2C market as Taobao relies on third party suppliers to sell and ship products directly to consumers. This aspect of the business is overlooked many times as Alibaba is currently producing amazing quarterly profits. But similar to eBay and Amazon, eBay’s scale became its own worst enemy as counterfeits began ruining eBay’s reputation. Alibaba’s Taobao has already started facing allegations that more than 60% of its products are counterfeits, but it’s not physically possible to control counterfeits with no warehouses to verify the third party goods, or the delivery channel that can quality check each product. Tmall faces the same issue as third party delivery services deliver products, which could be damaged or swapped out for counterfeit goods during the delivery process.

 

Local Economies of Scale

 

In Bruce Greenwald’s book Competition Demystified, Professor Greenwald talks about what led Wal-Mart to dominate the U.S. market. Local economies of scale he said was the key to Wal-Mart’s success and dominance. Wal-Mart strategically positioned all the store locations around its fulfillment centers combined with superior supply management systems allowed Wal-Mart to offer better prices for its consumers.

 

JD is replicating this exact business model in its positioning of its fulfillment centers. All fulfillment centers and warehouses in each city are strategically positioned so that goods are easily shipped to “delivery stations” which are then handed to delivery personnel for delivery. The current process could take up to 2-6 hours to accomplish. The fulfillment centers and its warehouse locations are still maximizing the efficiencies of the delivery process, and my research indicates to me that by 2020, JD has the operational potential to delivery goods within an hour of ordering. This kind of advantage won’t be replicated and will allow JD to offer groceries and perishable items online, while competitors would be shunned out. Once the required infrastructure is built out, JD will be able to offer lower prices to consumers due to its more superior operational capabilities.

 

In order to replicate this type of scale advantage, competitors like Alibaba would need to start investing in logistical infrastructures across China, which would include building out fulfillment centers. These fulfillment centers would need to be located in geographically advantageous locations in order to provide the same type of speed JD offers. Subsequent to the finding of these strategic locations, development plans will need to be made which would take 2 years to build out. Personnel training would then be required for the required delivery stations across the cities. This will take an additional year, and finally, Alibaba might have the potential to replicate JD’s delivery speed. Billions of dollars of capex and a minimum of three years later, Alibaba will only catch up to JD. By then, I suspect that JD’s logistics will be more advanced and offer delivery speeds of 1-2 hours within ordering.

Industry Analysis Market Survey Research

 

In order to understand what JD is currently lacking, I conducted a market survey research. In these numbers, you will find that most participants buy food items from Tmall and products that JD doesn’t offer.

 

Number of participants: 3,089 participants

Percentage of people shopped on both JD.com and Tmall.com - 100%

Percentage of people who would prefer JD.com before Tmall.com - 63%

Percentage of people who would only shop on JD.com over Tmall.com if JD offered the same products as Tmall.com - 72%

Reasons why people shopped on Tmall over JD.com:

Selection - 81%

Price - 3%

Food items (JD doesn't offer food items) - 12%

Other - 4%

Reasons why people chose JD.com over Tmall:

Shipping + Customer Service - 90%

Other - 10%

 

As JD continues to expand in fresh food delivery and different SKUs, the difference between product offering will narrow giving JD the upper hand.

 

Most participants in the survey were very satisfied with the shopping experience and indicated that the customer support element was very friendly and fast. Around 45 of the results indicated a bad experience with JD that was later fixed through the customer support team, but indicated to me that it wasn’t as speedy as some of the others experienced.

 

Valuation

 

A business like JD is very hard to value. It’s not suitable to traditional valuation metrics like P/FCF, P/E, P/B, but more suitable towards a TAM analysis. JD is more of a qualitative valuation exercise as opposed to a quantitative one.

 

There are multiple estimates online that indicates Chinese ecommerce sales will hit $1 trillion by 2018-2020. The beautiful thing about business valuation is that I don’t have to be precisely accurate, just broadly accurate is good enough for me.

 

JD is expected to have net revenue of $40 billion in 2016. That number could grow to $100 billion by 2018 and $200 billion by 2020. All estimates are obviously subjected to forecasting errors, but whether it’s $100 billion or $200 billion, investors today aren’t paying a premium to the growth potential of this company.

 

What’s important in the case of valuing JD is the determination of what percentage of ecommerce sales JD will take. B2C is expected to continue to outgrow C2C, so one can fairly expect that as a total percentage of ecommerce sales, B2C will take a greater portion by 2020.

 

If I assume 60% of sales by 2020 belong in B2C, and JD maintains its current ~21% market share. JD would have $120 billion in sales. To be conservative, let’s assume Richard achieves his goal of earning a 3% profit margin on $120 billion in sales. I would arrive at $3.6 billion in net profit on a current market cap of ~$40 billion. Investors today are paying ~10x P/E for a business that will likely grow substantially more beyond 2020.

 

As a famous investor in JD told me, “Precision in investing is an illusory attempt at perfecting the impossible.”

 

Risk Factors

 

VIE structure will likely lead to discounts in the valuation.

 

Many have argued that the likelihood of the VIE structure would be outlawed in China leading to complete losses for foreign investors in Chinese ADRs. I do not believe that to be the case. Rather, if the Chinese government pursues this route, there will be alternative routes to set up the legal structure where foreign investors will continue to hold an economic stake in these Chinese ADRs (have consulted with experts on this). Another reason that leads me to believe this won’t be the case is the potential for all Chinese firms to lose the ability to raise capital in the largest capital market (U.S.). I do not think the Chinese government is stupid enough to block its enterprises from gaining access to the U.S. market.

 

Tmall to setup exclusivity amongst suppliers.

 

This is a very big risk factor. Although I’ve only seen this happen in the apparels market in size thus far, Uniqlo and Zara, Alibaba’s Tmall could throw its weight around and force suppliers to sign exclusivity with Tmall for a set period of time, thus drastically slowing down JD’s ability to expand its product offering.

 

One counterarguments against this risk factor is that JD’s growth will force suppliers to reconsider their strategic positioning. As JD continues to expand faster than the broad ecommerce growth, suppliers will be forced to take the risk that JD will never grow to be bigger than Tmall, which could force them to reconsider the exclusivity agreement. Another factor that could also limit the amount of suppliers into an exclusivity agreement is if Tmall offers a favorable deal to one supplier, other suppliers might bulk and focus their attentions on JD as Tmall is treating them unfairly. For Tmall to sign exclusivity deals, it runs the risk of shunning out other suppliers. The risk of this strategy works both ways.

 

Concluding Thoughts

 

JD is perfectly positioned to grow into a valuable and dominant franchise in the ecommerce market. Investors paying attention to the granularities of JD’s operations, its management team, and its strategic vision will be greatly rewarded in the long run. Richard’s ability to singularly focus on customer service strikes an astounding resemblance with Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, and their sheer intensity to strive for the best customer experience will lead to a dominant ecommerce enterprise. I believe JD will grow to a $200 billion plus company and reward patient shareholders who can see JD’s strategic vision.  

 

 

 

 

 

I do not hold a position with the issuer such as employment, directorship, or consultancy.
I and/or others I advise hold a material investment in the issuer's securities.

Catalyst

-       Continued execution in the e-commerce strategy.

-       Continued growth in market share and revenue.

-       GARP play.

 

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