JD.com shutters Australian branch

Chinese online marketplace JD.com has closed its local branch after only 15 months in the market.

The e-commerce giant launched its Australian office in Melbourne in February 2018, after its competitor Alibaba opened an office in Melbourne in 2017.

At the time, the opening was seen as a way for JD.com to work more closely with the Australian and New Zealand brands on its platform, and to pitch its business to new brands looking to expand into China.

A JD.com spokesperson confirmed to Inside Retail that the online marketplace is integrating its Australian office into the business in China. The spokesperson said the move didn’t reflect the business’s performance in Australia, nor the region’s importance.

The retailer’s head of Australian operations Patrick Nestrel is no longer with the business, likely in an effort to ensure management in China is able to fully integrate Australian operations.

The online retailer is set to report its first quarter sales results on May 10. It has had a difficult few months recently after founder Richard Liu was arrested in September 2018 in the US for sexual misconduct. He was not charged.

In April, the Chinese university student who accused Liu of misconduct filed a civil lawsuit against him.

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