BEIJING: JD.com, one of China’s biggest online retailers, has introduced its own range of branded products in a move that not only follows Amazon’s lead but also reflects a broader shift in the country’s commercial culture.
Jing Zao, which translates to ‘Made by JD’, encompasses a range of 38 products, , ranging from towels to suitcases, according to the South China Morning Post, which compared the product offerings to that of Japanese retailer Muji.
However, the advantage for JD.com is vertical integration. From understanding the popularity of items right through to the delivery management, the company keeps high quality consumer and business data.
In this respect is it like Amazon, for which these elements have allowed it to build a range of AmazonBasics items establishing the company as a significant brand in and of itself rather than as an intermediary.
In addition, it mirrors some of Amazon’s other innovations, not least the expansion into physical retail stores through semi or even full automation. Earlier this month, the company launched its first fresh-food supermarket in Beijing.
But the move also signals a broader shift away from counterfeits and toward quality products ‘created in China’ rather than ‘made in China’.
The country’s tech sector has been at the centre of this shift, put in place by Chinese Premier, Li Kequiang, in 2015 when he unveiled the “Made in China 2025” strategy that would move the country from being a hub of manufacturing toward becoming a hub of technological innovation. The Chinese government has, since then, taken a central role in engineering this shift.
“China has used cheap manufacturing and copying for a first development stage, but companies find that this model doesn’t work any more. Innovation for us is survival”, one company president told the South China Morning Post.
At an event last November in London, Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO of WPP noted China’s “inevitable and inexorable” rise. Following a visit to China’s tech hub in Shenzhen, he told the audience that the balance had shifted in his estimation. “The thought that Chinese companies are inferior in any respect is delusional.”
Sourced from South China Morning Post, Financial Times, Chinese Government; additional reporting by WARC staff