(Adds JD.com’s response)
Jan 25 (Reuters) - China’s JD.com Inc is preparing to enter the United States by the end of this year in a move that will challenge its Chinese rival Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and U.S.-based Amazon.com Inc, Bloomberg News reported on Thursday.
JD.com is seeking funds for its international expansion and is in final talks to sell 15 percent of its logistics arm to shareholder Tencent Holdings Ltd and other investors in an early fundraising round, Bloomberg reported. (bloom.bg/2DBxEZw)
“Southeast Asia is our international focus for now, with the U.S. being a longer-term aspiration,” a spokesman for JD.com told Reuters. “We are considering different options, but any near-term efforts in the U.S. would likely look at partnership models.”
Tencent will get about a third of the shares on offer and the deal will be completed by the middle of next month, JD.com founder Richard Liu told Bloomberg in an interview.
The move is a precursor to an initial public offering of the logistics unit in China or Hong Kong in about three years, Liu told Bloomberg.
JD.com has kicked off a fundraising round at its logistics unit with a target of at least $2 billion, and eventually plans to list the business overseas, Reuters reported earlier this month.
Tencent was not available for comment on the Bloomberg report. Wal-Mart Stores Inc, one of the largest shareholders in JD.com with a more than 10 percent stake, also did not respond to a request for comment.
Large Chinese retail companies have been looking to enter the Untied States by tying up with American retailers. Alibaba and U.S. grocer Kroger Co have had early discussions on working together, a source told Reuters on Thursday.
These discussions come as Amazon.com expands aggressively into groceries with its acquisition of Whole Foods Market. (Reporting by Shubham Kalia and Subrat Patnaik in Bengaluru and Cate Cadell in Beijing; Editing by Amrutha Gayathri)