Wanda Group Shuts Down its E-commerce Business Feifan
COVID-19 and China
bird's eye photography of red and orange houses. Image credit: Deva Darshan/Unsplash

China's largest real-estate developer Wanda Group has planned to shut down its e-commerce business Feifan, signaling the conglomerate’s another empty attempt in retail.

Feifan (formerly known as Tengbaiwan) was founded in 2012. It bagged fruitful investments by Chinese Internet giants Baidu and Tencent in 2015, which exit the game a year later. The newborn New Feifan continued its struggling, without Baidu and Tencent’s traffic supporting the business. The last attempt the company made was to develop e-commerce vertical applications in 2017 amid the heating of new retail.

Wanda has been trying to work with Tencent to penetrate in the retail industry, competing with Alibaba and Meituan Dianping. The Joint Venture (JV) Beyond Science was born in 2018 (Tencent holds 42.58% of shares vs. Wanda has 51%), focusing on omnichannel retail digital services. It has started the pilot project for Wanda Plaza.

The real estate prices keep rising in major Chinese metropolises especially Beijing and Shanghai, causing government headaches in balancing between reducing leverage and boosting economic growth. Wanda has felt the impact coming from Internet players like Homelink against its offline retailing.

To broaden its scale, Wanda has made a presence in several fields including financials, e-commerce, cinema, sports (Wanda Sports is now trading on Nasdaq under the ticker of WSG) and cloud computing (with IBM). It has tasted failures in e-commerce and cloud. The most tragic one came in 2017 when it sold most of its hotel and tourism properties to Sunac China.

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