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JD.com, China's online retail giant, is gearing up to become an "e-commerce total solution provider" in a bid to get more vendors on its platform, the company's top executives have said.
Lan Ye, the chief marketing officer of JD.com, which is also known as Jingdong, said that the company is going to upgrade its support in terms of technology, logistics, services and finance to attract more companies to its open platform.
"About half of the company's turnover in 2016 is expected to come from the open platform, on which merchants directly sell their own products and JD.com provides e-commerce total solutions, such as customer services, logistics services and interactive marketing services," Lan said at JD.com's first open platform forum, which was held in Beijing on Monday.
As one of the leading business-to-consumer, or B2C, retailers in China - with a total turnover of 60 billion yuan ($9.79 billion) - JD.com sees its open platform as a key driver for its business growth, according to Lan.
Liu Qiangdong, chief executive officer and founder of JD.com, who briefly attended the forum, echoed Lan's view.
"JD.com will not survive if it fails to be involved in the open platform business," Liu said, pointing out the slowing growth of e-commerce in China.
To place the open platform business on top of its agenda, JD.com plans to upgrade its technology support to make it much easier for third-party companies to set up their online stores.
In addition, JD.com is building a new call center, which is expected to be put into operation at the end of this year, to help those companies with their after-sales services.
Lan said that JD.com's direct B2C sales platform, which accounted for 80 percent of the company's turnover last year, can also benefit from the booming open platform business.
JD.com is not the only company that spotted the business potential of the sector.
Other Internet retailers, such as Tmall.com, the largest open platform launched by China's Alibaba Group in 2008, offer similar services to companies and brands, which are willing to set up online stores. Amazon also rolled out an open platform last year to join the competition.
Song Yang, e-commerce senior analyst with the Beijing-based research firm Analysys International, said that an increasing number of companies are transforming themselves from self-operated online marketplaces to e-commerce total solution providers, but very few companies are able to compete with retail giants, such as Tmall.com and JD.com.
According to figures from Song's firm, the total turnover of China's B2C market was 133.12 billion yuan in the first quarter of the year, with Tmall.com accounting for 48.5 percent of the market share while JD.com accounted for 17.3 percent.