JD.com, China's largest e-tailer by revenue, has signed a strategic partnership agreement with Shanghai-based China Eastern Airlines.
The two companies will cooperate in the fields of aviation logistics, passenger service, marketing and information systems, to leverage each other's resources, according to state media reports.
JD.com will strengthen its logistics services, with China Eastern Airline (code: MU) providing services including pick-up, transport and delivery of goods. The duo will share station resources,
establish domestic and international air freight logistics networks to improve the air cargo logistics efficiency.
China Eastern Airlines has already operated ten freighter flights (through its subsidiary China Cargo Airlines) for JD.com and Chinese media reported that this figure is expected to double to over 20 flights by the end of this year.
Broad spectrum of cooperation
The pact with JD.com will also allow MU to create a new sales channel, as the e-tailer has established an official online shop for Eastern Airlines on its e-commerce platform, where customers can purchase domestic and international air tickets. They will also share their membership systems, and JD.com will help optimise Eastern Airline's e-commerce system.
In addition, JD.com and Eastern Airlines will implement joint purchasing activities for fresh food, office supplies and clothes, while JD.com will also provide technology support for Eastern Airline's cloud products.
New ownership structure announced
China Eastern Airlines spun off its logistics arm, Eastern Air Logistics, in April and last month announced that four strategic investors would purchase a 45% stake in its freight business.
The e-tailer is on its way to becoming a big logistics player
JD.com owns the nation's largest logistics facilities and network among all domestic e-commerce operators, which includes seven logistics hubs and 263 large warehouses across China. Two months ago, the e-tailer established a new business group, JD Logistics, which is in the process of building a supply chain network covering logistics, e-commerce, finance, insurance, data and technology with various partners.
Nol van Fenema