February 19, 2012- Walmart announced it would purchase a 51% share in Yihaodian, an ecommerce website in China. It marks a substantial move for the retailer to increase its presence online in China. Details of the deal were not disclosed. The website is one of the fastest-growing businesses in China. Walmart has held a small stake in the company, which has over 180,000 products for sale that range from apparel to grocery items to consumer electronics.
Yihaodian was founded in 2008 and has logistics centers in Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Guangzhou and Wuhan. Because of such a system, the company is able to provide same day or next day deliveries. In 2011, sales for the company reached $429 million. Taobao another online retailer dominates the consumer ecommerce marketplace in China.
Walmart remains a new player in the ecommerce marketplace in the U.S. where the leader is Amazon. Only a tiny percentage of the total sales for the company in the U.S. are generated online. However, over the last 12 months it is boosting its expertise in-house through purchasing two technology companies in the U.S.
Walmart sells packaged and dried foods and general merchandise online for delivery throughout the U.S., but its online fresh food sales online comes from a pilot program it launched in California in 2011. Walmart has over 350 stores in China and has been steadily growing.