Authenticity is key: JD.com Brand Analysis

JD.com is the second-largest Chinese B2C e-commerce company, founded exactly 23 years ago in 1998. Around this time, they celebrate this with their annual “618 anniversary sale”, often resulting in record sales. This blog post analyzes the JD.com brand and discusses relevant opportunities and threats.

Fast facts 

  • Name: JD.com, Inc. (also known as Jingdong, formerly 360buy)
  • Type: Public
  • Origin: China
  • Founding date: 18 June, 1998
  • Headquarters: Beijing, China
  • Key people: Qiangdong (or Richard) Liu (Owner & founder)
  • Key stakeholders: Shareholders, customers and e-commerce businesses
  • Revenue: $114.299 billion USD in 2020
  • Logo designer: 180China
  • Area served: Asia, United States, and Europe

Branding strategies

In 2013, when the company was already one of the largest B2C e-commerce platforms, they rebranded from 360buy to JD. In addition, the logo was redesigned to be more memorable, and featured a mascot metal dog called Joy. According to Richard Liu, founder and CEO of JD, Joy “represents Jingdong’s loyalty to our customers and our close relationship with their daily life. We remain committed to offering best-in-class user experience to our customers throughout the world.” In 2019, the mascot turned into a regular white dog.

JD.com has around 500 million active users each year. One of the main reasons JD has gotten so successful is because they have the fastest delivery system. They have over 1,000 warehouses and excellent expertise in logistics. That’s why it’s able to offer same-day deliveries in major cities in China, without any additional fees. Through their focus on user experience, they’ve been able to attract a lot of loyal customers.

JD.com’s largest competitor is Tmall, owned by the Alibaba group and currently the largest B2C provider in China. Before JD and Tmall, there was also Taobao (C2C, owned by Alibaba). Alibaba created Tmall as a spin-off from Taobao, in order to compete with JD on authentic products, as Taobao often got fake products accusations. Now, whether people use JD.com or Tmall often comes down to personal preference. While JD.com has faster delivery and is better known for quality and authenticity, Tmall has a wider range of products and is better at following trends.

Brand opportunities and threats

JD.com’s mission is to, “powered by technology, create a more productive and sustainable world.” As a way to improve, they could offer combined deliveries when packages for one customer come from several stores. This is especially useful for international orders, and it’s more environmentally friendly.

Despite JD’s commitment to 100% authenticity, they’ve been accused and sued a few times for selling a fake product. The company should prevent these situations, as that could not only worsen its brand perception, but also have them lose partnerships with (luxury) brands.

Conclusion

JD.com has a fast-growing customer base, and thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, it helped them beat market expectations. It’s too early to tell whether JD will ever beat Tmall in market share and active users. However, their reputation can be seen as somewhat stronger than Alibaba’s. So, it’s safe to say that they will be around for quite a while and continue to grow quickly.

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