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Walmart ups investment in Chinese e-commerce

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BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Walmart has increased its investment in Yihaodian, a fast-growing e-commerce business in China, bringing its ownership stake to approximately 51%.

Launched in July 2008, Yihaodian has been growing at a rapid pace together with the e-commerce market of China, which is expected to be nearly as large as the U.S. e-commerce market in 2016. Yihaodian already has 24 million registered users, and offers same-day delivery to customers in Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai, and next-day delivery to customers in over 100 cities in China.

Neil Ashe, President and CEO of Walmart global e-commerce, said, "We are excited to complete this investment and to further deliver on Walmart's mission to help customers in China save money and live better. China represents a very important part of Walmart's global investment in e-commerce, and we appreciate the strong support and cooperation we received from the Chinese government.  This investment demonstrates we are committed to the development of e-commerce in China and bringing the best possible shopping experience to Chinese customers."

Ashe added: "We chose to invest in Yihaodian because, like Walmart, they are committed to providing outstanding service to their customers, and we are impressed with Yihaodian's strong management team, and solid competence in distribution. Together we will focus on serving an emerging middle class in China. Yihaodian will gain access to cutting-edge capabilities and technology from Walmart that can be offered to customers in China, and Yihaodian will offer expertise and capabilities that benefit our other businesses and customers worldwide."

Yihaodian co-founder and chairman Gang Yu said, "Our highly competitive supply chain management systems and extensive operational experience have given us an edge in the market here in China. We believe that through our strategic relationship with Walmart, we will be able to leverage their deep insights and significant expertise to further advance our network and excel even more rapidly, ultimately providing a superb experience for our customers."