HONG KONG – China’s property to entertainment giant Wanda Group today confirmed plans for a huge push into e-commerce. It is doing so in partnership with Baidu and Tencent, two of the fastest-moving companies online companies in China.
The move sees Wanda, which estimates 5 billion customers for its shopping malls, multiplexes, hotels and theme parks by 2020 tie up with two online technology leaders.
Describing the new Hong Kong-based Wanda E-commerce Co. as the world’s biggest online-to-offline (O2O) e-commerce company, Wanda said initial investment will be 5 billion yuan ($814 million). It will hold 70%, with Baidu and Tencent each owning 15% stakes.
A signing ceremony in Beijing brought together three of China’s four richest businessmen; Wanda’s Wang Jianlin; Baidu’s Robin Li; and Tencent’s Pony Ma. According to new Bloomberg calculations this week only Jack Ma, of ecommerce and entertainment group Alibaba, has a higher net worth.
“Wanda, Baidu and Tencent will cooperate closely together in developing payment and e-commerce financial products, building a universal customer loyalty program, big data integration, Wi-Fi sharing, and product integration,” Wanda said in a statement.
Wanda E-commerce services will launch in all 107 Wanda Plazas, by the end of this year, with rollout expanding thereafter. The unit, headed by CEO Dong Ce, forecasts that Wanda e-commerce membership will exceed 40 million this year and hit 100 million by 2015.
Baidu is China’s largest search engine, and a distribution platform for applications and services. It has over 6 billion relevant search requests per day and over 10 billion monthly mean daily page views for its location based services.
At the end of June Tencent said that monthly active users on its QQ instant messaging service reached 829 million, while its mobile social platform WeChat exceeded 438 million active users.