Jingdong Group (JD.com) is one of the largest consumer-focused companies in China. They have over 300 million active users and hold about 30% of the B2C market in China. According to a recent report, JD.com will launch a new blockchain research laboratory in collaboration with two major technology institutes. The new laboratory plans to explore real-world applications for blockchain in China.
This announcement comes after JD.com has decided to open a smart-cities program that integrates the blockchain into a larger model of City-as-a-Service (CaaS). The new blockchain laboratory of JD will be developed with the collaboration of the Ying Wu College of Computing at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), as well as the Institute of Software at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (ISCAS) .
The new blockchain development lab will focus on creating efficiency and immersion in scenarios of use cases for blockchain technology that can be commercialized. JD.com has already developed a successful consumer-oriented business model and may be looking for new ways to increase its presence in e-commerce and finance.
JD.com is thinking big
Unlike many blockchain start-ups, JD.com has the money to grow up. They are working on numerous projects that could impact infrastructure on an international scale and change the way social structures are organized.
According to Zhong Hua, who is the Deputy Director of the Software Institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, "Through this partnership we will bring blockchain innovation and promote industrial applications of blockchain technology".
At the moment, JD.com is widely active in the Chinese domestic economy. This could also change, since they offer a Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS) platform that they call JD Blockchain open platform.
Instead of having to build blockchain platforms from scratch, JD Blockchain Open Platform customers can streamline the development of specialized blockchain solutions, without having to waste large amounts of research and propitiatory development.
Beijing seems to be good with Blockchain
At this point, almost all major Chinese companies are developing a kind of blockchain platform. Even the Chinese government seems to be very favorable to the development of blockchain, which could mean very positive things for the idea of the smart cities of JD.com.
The dizzying pace of urban development in China has left gaps when it comes to social services. Infrastructure is also a concern, especially given the size of the Chinese population. Digital payments, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and blockchain could all work together to help eliminate many problems that global city centers face.
Blockchain also has the ability to create detailed records that are difficult to change, which fits Beijing's preference for a high level of social supervision. Chinese citizens are already adopting platforms like WeChat that create detailed documents that authorities can access.
Blockchain platforms with Internet-of-Things (IoT) data collection capabilities could increase Beijing's ability to monitor its population, which may be why they are so eager to support the technology.
Already a force in China
Blockchain developers are exploding in China. In the course of 2018, the number of companies with "blockchain" in their name has grown to become the highest in any country. They have surpassed the United States and the United Kingdom by a large margin and there are billions of dollars of development that result in Chinese blockchain projects.
Chinese companies have also been successful in the implementation of platforms in daily use. Ping-An's commercial finance platform is considered a basis for a global commercial finance platform by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), but is already in use in mainland China.
Despite the fact that the Chinese government did its best to eradicate any blockchain or encryption last year, the technology came back with a vengeance. JD.com's latest blockchain venture shows that there is even more enthusiasm for innovation in China, and that key commercial players are not afraid to support a new idea.