Walmart, the world’s largest retailer by sales, has invested in China’s largest e-commerce consumer electronics seller, 360buy.com, in a move that underlines the growing interest of global retailers in China’s rapidly growing online market.
The retailer was one of six investors in a round of funding that raised $500m for 360buy, whose rivals include Taobao, the dominant online marketplace owned by Alibaba.
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Walmart has about 300 stores in China. Its Sam’s Club discount warehouse business launched its own e-commerce business there in November, using a new global platform that it has built over the past two years.
The retailer has taken similar minority stakes with fledgling e-commerce businesses in the US that it has also worked with, including 1-800-Contacts, a contact lens retailer, and Green Dot, the web-based payments and financial company.