The three companies announced in 2014 that they were joining forces to launch Ffan.com, a shopping platform intended to transform shopping in malls and to rival Alibaba’s multiple online marketplaces.
The platform launched last year and recently claimed to have 120 million downloads for its app.
Baidu and Tencent were understood to have invested over $800 million in the venture. Wanda last year raised a further $1 billion for the platform. However, a recent regulatory filing shows that the tech pair were replaced as shareholders by another Wanda company.
A crucial difference between Ffan.com and China’s shopping market leaders Alibaba and JD.com is the way that goods are to be collected at Wanda’s malls, rather than delivered to the home. Wanda operates dozens of modern malls across China and has introduced cinemas and theme park facilities within many of them. Its move into e-commerce was not only intended to change shopping, but also to increase the integration between Wanda’s growing array of service businesses.
Wanda has had an up and down week. In recent setbacks, the company has revealed the temporary closure of its theme park in Wuhan and a halt in the integration of Legendary Pictures with its other media assets. However, it appears to have great confidence in the malls and movie exhibition sectors. Earlier this week it announced an order for 150 additional IMAX theaters to be installed at its new-build cinemas between now and 2022.