Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com Inc (JD) moved into the real estate market on Tuesday as it added a real estate transaction channel on its popular online shopping platform that is aimed at the nation's massive housing rental segment.
The company said in a statement sent to the Global Times on Tuesday that the company is not in the business of real estate development; rather, it aims to be a services provider in the real estate sector.
"JD's real estate channel will create integration of the real estate sector and e-commerce, covering residential, commercial and niche real estate markets and establishing a services platform for the 'big real estate era'," Xin Lijun, vice president of JD, was quoted as saying in the statement.
Given the sector's policies, markets and business models, the domestic real estate industry is facing a turning point, and the challenge for real estate companies is no longer sales but operations, the statement said. That situation means an opportunity for JD.
The statement said JD will focus on three specific areas: connecting consumers with real estate information, improving the online operations of the property sector and developing "fast-growing real estate products" in cooperation with developers and agents. In all three areas, JD said it would use its massive database and experience in online sales, according to the statement, adding it aims to become the leader in data and online transactions within five years.
JD's move could mean "new competition" for some companies, according to Yan Yuejin, senior researcher at the E-house China R&D Institute.
"With such a big online platform, [JD] can exert relatively strong pressure on some e-commerce platforms and traditional real estate agents," Yan told the Global Times on Tuesday in a note.
JD's real estate site has already attracted 82 developers and 35 services providers in the sector, covering more than 2,000 property projects in 20 cities, according to the company's statement.