China’s JD.com Inc is in advanced talks with Thailand’s Central Group to launch an e-commerce joint venture in Thailand with a planned total investment of $500 million, people familiar with the matter told Reuters. The venture will help China’s second largest e-commerce retailer expand its overseas business beyond Indonesia and boost its presence in Southeast Asia where rivals Alibaba Group Holding and Amazon are ramping up competition with new services, such as a quick delivery service in Singapore. Indonesia currently accounts for almost all of JD.com’s investments outside China, including an e-commerce platform and travel start-up, Traveloka. JD.com plans to enter the Thai market later this year and use Thailand as a hub to service other countries in the region such as Vietnam and Malaysia, JD.com chief executive Richard Liu told Reuters in June. The joint venture with Central Group, owned by the billionaire Chirathivat family, Thailand’s third-richest, will focus on e-commerce and finance, and has yet to be finalized.
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