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Here’s what you should know.

1. Supermarket giant Walmart now owns 12% of China’s JD 

Walmart first took a 5 percent stake in JD mid-2016, but has since quietly upped the ante in China’s online shopping battle by acquiring more of the Alibaba arch-rival. Walmart’s JD stake is now worth US$5 billion.

Rising on the back of China’s ongoing ecommerce boom, JD has seen its valuation rise nearly 60% since its 2014 IPO in the US.

Read the rest of the story here.

 

2. iFashion Group buys Singaporean lifestyle brand Megafash for $2.5m

Megafash specializes in showcasing smaller, independent brands through a combination of online retail and physical stores. The startup has been operating in Singapore, Indonesia, and Thailand. After the acquisition, it will continue under its own brand.

Megafash co-founder Jeremy Khoo joins iFashion as CEO.

Read the rest of the story here.

 

3. Recommended Reading: A virtual empire

Chinese giant Alibaba Group Holdings is gearing up to bridge online shopping with physical shopping through VR and AR.

“We want to create a new economy where the online world is integrated with the physical world,” said Jack Ma. “We’re building an economic entity, a virtual economy on the internet.”

The company has also begun to use technology for logistics.

“We’ve used technology to make a smart fulfillment network through 163 warehouses and 140,000 routes. Our data analytics can be used to analyse the shortest routes and help merchants manage their inventories,” said Judy Tong, chief executive of Cainiao Network, Alibaba’s logistics arm.

Read the rest of the story here.

Here’s what you need to know today.

1. Fintech startup LatiPay raises funding to expand to Singapore & US

What is LatiPay? Auckland based LatiPay allows Chinese consumers to pay for goods and services using Yuan whilst merchants receive full payment for goods or services direct to their local bank account in their local currency. Chinese payers can make payment through their preferred bank payment or Alipay, WeChat pay and more.

The platform has raised $3 million in Series A funding from Singapore-based venture capital firm Jubilee Capital Management. The expansion will tap into the increasing popularity of cross-border payments.

Read the rest of the story here.

 

2. Walmart launches free, 2-day shipping

Starting today, Walmart will begin offering free, two-day shipping on over 2 million items, with no need for a membership fee for ‘everyday essentials’. Walmart owned Jet.com Jet.com also offers 2-day delivery on hundreds of thousands of common items, and ships for free on orders over $35.00.

This could be seen as a response to the Amazon threat.

Read the rest of the story here.

3. US eyewear startup Warby Parker will launch 25 new stores this year

Warby Parker plans to open at least 25 retail locations this year, a rare brick-and-mortar expansion amid store closures at several chains. The eyeglasses seller said it would open stores in Miami, Los Angeles and other cities, bringing its total store count to about 70 this year.

The brand is often used as a key example for pureplay ecommerce players who have since adopted an offline strategy, bringing up observations about the changing phase of retail.

Read the rest of the story here.

Easing into Monday? Recovering from the weekend? Here’s some ecommerce headlines you should know.

1. Philippines based mobile payment service Abra joins hands with Codapay

Philippines-based mobile payment service Abra has announced a partnership with Singapore-based e-payment gateway Codapay. With this new deal, Abra users in the Philippines will be able to purchase Steam wallet codes, Skype credit, Amazon gift cards and Battle.net cards by paying with Abra at Codapay’s retail site, Codashop.

Read the rest of the story here

 

2. China’s Alibaba buys into supermarket chain Sanjiang Shopping

China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd plans to invest $305 million in supermarket chain Sanjiang Shopping Club Co Ltd to further expand its retail presence. Sanjiang said it aims to use Alibaba’s e-commerce platform to make the most of the increasingly competitive bricks-and-mortar retail sector as China’s economic growth slows.

Read the rest of the story here

 

3. Walmart Invests $50 million in JD.com’s O2O logistics services app ‘New Dada’

Walmart has made a $50 million strategic investment in New Dada, formerly known as Dada and controlled by JD.com Inc., in another step deepening an existing partnership between them.  New Dada currently offers customers two-hour delivery on groceries ordered from Walmart stores to customers within a 3-kilometer radius of more than 20 Walmart stores in China. The number of Walmart stores offering two-hour delivery is expected to double by the end of the year.

Read the rest of the story here

 

Easing into your Tuesday? Check out today’s ecommerce headlines here.

 

1. Alibaba Group aims to re-define retail through VR on 11.11

Shoppers will be able to use virtual reality to buy, as Alibaba pilots Buy+, billed as the world’s first complete virtual reality (VR) shopping experience. Those who use it will be virtually transported to select retail stores internationally.

Read the rest of the story here.

 

2. Walmart makes another big investment in China 

Walmart has made a $50 million investment in Chinese online grocery and delivery company. With the New Dada investment, Walmart can utilize New Dada’s network to offer customers two-hour delivery on groceries ordered from Walmart stores through the JD Daojia Dada app.

Read the rest of the story here.

 

3. Retailers gets boost with halal e-market

With nearly 60 merchants on board, including 55 SMEs, the launch of Aladdin Street gels with the Government’s push for retail firms to use e-commerce to reach out to more customers.

The platform, which will eventually have offices in 30 countries, aims to promote halal products as a healthy, premium option even for non-Muslims. Aladdin Group, the company behind the marketplaces  is headquartered in Kuala Lumpur.

Read the rest of the story here.

Here’s a quick recap of ecommerce news for today.

 

1. Thailand’s price comparison Priceza raises Series B to double down on Southeast Asia

The company claims a combined 13 million visits per month across its markets and says that Thailand and Indonesia are its biggest ones. In Thailand, it has 7.5 million monthly active users across its website and mobile app. Read the rest of the story here.

 

2. Youtube tackles slow internet in emerging markets

Although not directly ecommerce related, Youtube is launching ‘YouTube Go’ to serve those with slow internet connections in emerging markets, starting with India. This follows a string of similar initiatives rolled out by Google to improve connectivity. The platform will aim at being ‘offline first’. Read the rest of the story here.

 

3. HSBC’s new “Future of Consumer Demand” report highlights how millennials use tech 

According to the report, consumers no longer want to buy things, but focus on ‘sharing economy’ instead. This may result in how ecommerce will have to change and adapt to evolving consumer trends. Read the rest of the story here.

 

4.  Uber-owned Otto to offer freight hauling services using autonomous trucks in 2017

The technology remains under development, but with Uber’s considerable resources now on board, Lior and his team aim to begin working with warehouses and stores to partially automate the driving process and generally improve efficiency. Read the rest of the story here.

 

5. Indian ecommerce war hotting up: Walmart in talks to invest up to $1B in Flipkart

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is in advanced discussions to invest as much as $1 billion into India’s Flipkart Online Services Pvt, as the two companies battle Amazon.com Inc. in ecommerce, according to a person familiar with the matter. Read the rest of the story here.

Macy’s plans to close 100 of its 675 department stores following a drop in its profitability. It will use some of those resources to double down on its digital operations and on its best-performing stores reports CMS Wire.

Macy’s estimates the annual sales volume it would lose from these 100 stores combined is roughly $1 billion after factoring the revenue it expects to retain due to nearby stores and the web.

During the fiscal second quarter, Macy’s comparable sales fell 2%, aided by the closing of 41 underperforming stores. Retail Metrics had been forecasting a 4.4% decline in comparable sales.

“Whenever there’s been a setback in our company, we’ve been first in the industry to take a very aggressive stance at moving us forward,” CEO Terry Lundgren told CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” “That’s just part of it. By closing 100 stores… we’re getting out in front of this.”

Nearly all the stores are cash-flow positive, but “their volume and profitability in most cases have been declining steadily in recent years,” said Macy’s President Jeff Gennette, who will assume the CEO role from Lundgren in 2017.

This follows Walmart’s announcement to close 269 stores, with 154 in the US. Walmart is still willing to invest in 300 new stores in strategic markets — but it is determined to crack the online sales nut by investing $3.3 billion to acquire Jet.com.

Read “The Impending Death of Traditional Retailers”

A version of this article appeared in CMS Wire and CNBC on August 11. Read the full versions here and here.