China’s JD.com brings back veteran to lead new grocery business as rival Alibaba plans spinoffs
JD.com set up an “Innovative Retail” division that houses its grocery business 7Fresh. It comes as the company has undergone a management reshuffle.
Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com on Monday said it set up a new business focused on groceries and brought a company veteran back to lead the unit.
The “Innovative Retail” unit will house JD’s grocery store business 7Fresh and group buying unit Pinpin, a spokesperson confirmed to CNBC.
Yan Xiaobing, who retired from JD in 2021 after leading the company’s international business, will return to head up the Innovative Retail group, the spokesperson said.
Meanwhile, JD Logistics, JD.com’s logistics arm, announced CEO Yu Rui is stepping down as chief executive due to health reasons and is succeeded by Hu Wei.
JD’s management reshuffle comes amid sweeping changes taking place across Chinese technology giants.
Alibaba, JD’s biggest e-commerce rival in China, split its company into six separate business units this year, the biggest restructuring in its history.
Last week, Daniel Zhang, Alibaba’s current CEO and chairman, announced plans to step down from the positions and lead the company’s cloud computing unit.
Alibaba co-founder Eddie Wu will take over as CEO while Joe Tsai, another veteran at the company will become chairman.
One of the business units Alibaba separated out in its restructure is a “local services” group, which covers its food delivery and grocery businesses.
Alibaba plans to raise outside capital and take some of these units public as spinoffs.
Both JD and Alibaba are contending with a weaker economic backdrop in China and have been engaged in a price war to attract users. Both are coming off the back of an annual sales promotion campaign called “6.18” as it centers around the date of June 18.
The grocery businesses for both companies are part of a strategy to expand beyond traditional e-commerce and become further embedded into Chinese consumers’ shopping habits.
JD’s latest reshuffle comes after it changed its CEO this month. Sandy Ran Xu, who was the company’s finance chief took over from Xu Lei as CEO. Xu was only in the job for a year and stepped down due to personal reasons.