How Did JD's Net Loss Reach US$1.4 billion In 2015?

摘要: On March 1, 2016, JD.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: JD), China's largest online direct sales company, announced its unaudited financial results for the quarter and full year ended December 31, 2015. The report suggested that the loss was primarily due to the impairment of Paipai.com and investment in JD Finance and JD Daojia during the fourth quarter.

(Chinese Version)

On March 1, 2016, JD.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: JD), China's largest online direct sales company, announced its unaudited financial results for the quarter and full year ended December 31, 2015.

According to the report, net revenue for the fourth quarter of 2015 was RMB54.6 billion, an increase of 57% from the fourth quarter of 2014, while the net loss in Q4 was RMB7.6 billion. At the same time, GMV for the full year of 2015 was RMB462.7 billion (US$271.4 billion), an increase of 78% compared with the full year of 2014, while the net revenue for the full year of 2015 was RMB181.3 billion (US$28.0 billion), and the net loss for the full year was 9.4RMB billion(US$1.4 billion). The report suggested that the loss was primarily due to the impairment of Paipai.com and investment in JD Finance and JD Daojia during the fourth quarter.

In January 2016, JD Finance announced an RMB6.65 billion financing round with lead investors including Sequoia Capital China, China Harvest Investments and China Taiping Insurance. The financing values JD Finance at RMB46.65 billion on a fully-diluted, post-investment basis. The deal closed on March 1, 2016, with JD.com maintaining majority ownership in JD Finance.

JD Daojia, JD.com’s O2O platform, has formed a strategic cooperation with Yonghui, a leading supermarket chain in China. As of February 29, 2016, JD Daojia had partnered with 56 Yonghui stores in 5 cities to provide 2-hour delivery service for customers’ grocery orders. Today, JD Daojia provides O2O services in 12 major cities across China.

JD suggested in the report that it was going to focus its attention on three main areas, including e-commerce(JD Mall, JD Daojia), finance(JD Finance and JD Insurance) and technology(JD cloud technologies and JD smart devices).

Some key indicators

1. GMV for the full year of 2015 was RMB462.7 billion (US$271.4 billion), an increase of 78% compared with the full year of 2014. Core GMV increased by 84% year-over-year to RMB446.5 billion (US$68.9 billion) in 2015. Net revenues for the full year of 2015 were RMB181.3 billion (US$28.0 billion), an increase of 58% from the full year of 2014. Annual active customer accounts from core business4 increased by 71% to 155.0 million in the 12 months ended December 31, 2015. Fulfilled orders from core business for the full year of 2015 were 1,263.1 million, an increase of 94% from 651.9 million for the full year of 2014.

2. GMV for the fourth quarter of 2015 was RMB145.3 billion, an increase of 69% compared with the fourth quarter of 2014. GMV excluding Paipai.com (“Core GMV”) for the fourth quarter of 2015 increased by 79% year-over-year to RMB143.2 billion. Net revenues for the fourth quarter of 2015 were RMB54.6 billion, an increase of 57% from the fourth quarter of 2014.

Core GMV from the online direct sales and online marketplace businesses totaled RMB78.7 billion and RMB64.5 billion, respectively, in the fourth quarter of 2015, an increase of 63% and 103%, respectively, from the fourth quarter of 2014. Core GMV from electronics and home appliance products was RMB70.1 billion in the fourth quarter of 2015, an increase of 66% from the fourth quarter of 2014, while Core GMV from general merchandise and others was RMB73.1 billion in the fourth quarter of 2015, an increase of 92% from the fourth quarter of 2014. Core GMV from general merchandise and others increased to 51.0% of total Core GMV in the fourth quarter of 2015 from 47.4% in the fourth quarter of 2014. Fulfilled orders from core business5 in the fourth quarter of 2015 were 417.8 million, an increase of 100% from 208.7 million for the same period in 2014. Fulfilled orders from core business placed through mobile accounted for approximately 61.4% of total orders fulfilled from core business in the fourth quarter of 2015, an increase of more than 230% compared to the same period in 2014.

3. Core GMV from the online direct sales and online marketplace business totaled RMB255.6 billion and RMB190.9 billion, respectively, for the full year of 2015, an increase of 60% and 129%, respectively, from the full year of 2014. Core GMV from electronics and home appliance products was RMB228.9 billion in the full year of 2015, an increase of 65% from the full year of 2014, while Core GMV from general merchandise and others was RMB217.6 billion in the full year of 2015, an increase of 109% from the full year of 2014. Core GMV from general merchandise and others increased to 48.7% of total Core GMV in the full year of 2015 from 42.8% in the full year of 2014. Core GMV from general merchandise and others increased to 51.0% of total Core GMV in the fourth quarter of 2015.

4. As of December 31, 2015, JD.com operated 213 warehouses covering an aggregate gross floor area of approximately 4 million square meters in 50 cities including 6 self-built Asia No.1 warehouses and a total of 5,367 delivery stations and pickup stations across China. During 2015, over 85% of direct sales orders were delivered on the same day as, or the day after, they were placed.

5. According to the accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America (“U.S. GAAP”), JD’s net loss attributable to ordinary shareholders for the full year of 2015 was RMB9.4 billion (US$1.4 billion), primarily due to the impairment of goodwill and intangible assets related to Paipai.com, which was terminated on December 31, 2015, impairment of certain investments recognized during the quarter, employee encouragement plans and strategic cooperation with Tencent.

However, non-GAAP net loss attributable to ordinary shareholders for the full year of 2015 was RMB850.5 million (US$131.3 million) and non-GAAP net margin was negative 0.5%. The net profit margin for Q1-Q4 is respectively 12.20%, 12.90%, 13.80% and 14.30%. In 2015, JD Mall business was overall profitable, and the report suggested that the loss was primarily due to the impairment of Paipai.com and strategic investment in JD Finance and JD Daojia during the fourth quarter.

After the report was released, JD Group’s CEO Liu Qiangdong, CFO Huang Xuande and JD Mall’s CEO Shen Haoyu attended a conference call with analysts and explained some of the key points in the new report.

The following is part of the transcript of the earning calls between JD's leading board and various analysts:

Merrill Lynch’s analyst: We have heard from some of the old line branch about the slower growth in smartphones, as well as to some extent home appliances. So just wondering if you could share a little bit of the outlook of these electronics pieces to us? And how you guys can maintain pretty good growth despite a potential headwinds in the electronics industry. 

Shen Haoyu: Consumer electronics is the strongest category for the company, the company started in that category. And if you talk about cameras and computers, laptops, these categories have been the slowest growing in our entire portfolio although it's still very fast growth compared with offline retailers. And cellphone has gone through very rapid growth in the past few years as cellphone becomes prevalent in China. The growth rate definitely slowed down; if you look at the entire market I think its flat, basically last year. And it's not going to grow much faster this year, but as -- for online retail; we're still having a very decent growth. But it is -- I think for smartphone, the overall market has grown to a level where the growth rate is almost flat.

And as far as home appliances, I assure you, we just came back from one of our events which has kicked off, a new campaign for home appliances this afternoon was over 100 brands and suppliers. So we're seeing very good growth in that category. We're still taking share very rapidly from offline retailers. So we're very focused on that category. So overall, I think the entire market is definitely not growing very fast but as online retailer we're taking share from the offline guys that were seeing a much better growth in the industry overall.

Liu Qiangdong: JD is already the largest retailer for a lot of these electronics and appliance categories, but it's only, maybe 10% if that of the entire market. So for a few years to come our growth will still be driven by people's move from offline to online, especially from the lower tier cities. If you go to Beijing, Shenzhen, you don't see those marketplaces in electronics anymore, but if you go to lower tier cities you're still seeing a lot of those offline markets, and we're seeing people increasingly moving to online.

UBS’s analyst: Just wondering if you could just elaborate a little bit more on the sources of improved profitability on the e-commerce side and then whether you can separately frame the sides for the investments needed for the Internet finance and also the O2O, the JD Daojia. And also separately on fulfillment, just wondering how much of the 3P businesses you are fulfilling in terms of warehousing and also delivery.

Huang Xuande: I think the operating profit from our JD Mall business will come from as we mentioned in the past release go economies. We illustrated in the past for example our 1P business gross margin remained substantially lower than offline industry leaders and part of that is well increasingly driven by our improving scale where we can secure better and better rebates from suppliers as we continue to increase in volume. There are also discretionary spending items like we mentioned on branding activities in the fourth quarter for example and also on the logistics. But we continue to improve in the lower tier cities and the rural areas. So in 2015 it was a still investing year for a lot of those new regions, and in 2016 there is plenty of room to improve operating leverage.

And so we deliberately leave a fairly large range to maintain operating flexibility in 2016 mainly for our new business lines because when you invest in the new line especially in highly competitive China internet market there is clearly uncertainty at the beginning of the year. So we don't necessarily have a definitive range for those new investments.

Generally, we do have budget but I think it is something subject to change, but overall I think we have a very strong internal budget for our core business in terms of profitability which leave us plenty of room to invest and impose new business initiative and potential special events that drive our core business.

Shen Haoyu: To your question about providing logistics to our merchants, we are delivering about 25% parcels for our third party sellers and we are serving much small percentage of their parcel on warehouse sites, at this point at a single percentage point. But as soon as the end of last year, I think we're making progress on giving people onto our warehouse parcel.

Deutsche Bank’s analyst: Would love an update on your cross-border initiative, maybe it's waiting in GMV. How we should begin to think about margin structure now that we're finding ways into it? And then, if you don't mind just following a little more on O2O operations, what your incremental geographic bridge goals are, and to what extent we feel the need to apply subsidies and whether it will be more or lessened hence relative to last year? Thank you.

Huang Xuande: For O2O, right now we are in twelve cities and we intend to penetrate the consumer base in those 12 cities before moving into new cities. So in other words we wanted to, we target to achieve enough critical mass and scale economies before expanding further into other cities. We don't have a definitive investment amount as I mentioned earlier, but we do have clearly a competitive advantage in this area because not only we work with some of the best partners such as Tang Jiu but we also, potentially we have great supply chain promise, enough fresh food categories.

Liu Qiangdong: Yes, I know a lot of people are curious about auto business and some compare us to Instacart in The United States. One, very different position for us is we focus on the fresh produce category versus Instacart is delivering more broader, kind of grocery category. So for us we focus exclusively on fresh produce and for other grocery products we can fulfill them through our own JD Mall platform.

So for fresh products, especially the mid-tier to kind of the day-to-day fresh products, it is very difficult for either one 1P business or platform dismissed to operate effectively. So, we believe O2O is the only effective way to deliver these fresh products to consumer’s hand but for high-end and also organic fresh products clearly, there is a way for us to operate on a 1P basis.

Yes, so we expect O2O initiative will be a long term investment for us as we did in the past with our business lines. The biggest challenge today for our O2O initiative is the non-standardization of the fresh food packaging, so we are working with our supermarket partners to standardize some of these fresh product packaging so that we can fulfill them more effectively.

Yes, we are most pleased that you know with the initial results we can see the repeat purchase rates on JD O2O is much higher than our JD Mall traditional business. So this is very encouraging.

Shen Haoyu: We are really sorry the business in Q2 of last year and Q4 is a big quarter for cross border imports so we had very good growth actually in Q4. It’s still small business for the company. It’s 1% of the company line now and it’s not profitable but we are looking to improve the profitability of the business this year without sacrificing healthy growth. And, the big categories are baby products, food & supplements and skincare & cosmetics and tried for selection of customers.

Jefferies’s analyst: Can management give us some more color on the mobile GMV contribution and the average ticket size per order; mobile compared to the PC users? And any color with respect to contributions from within the directed traffic and the conversion rate, and that will be helpful. My Second question is with respect to lower tier city expansion, maybe management can give us some more update on that front.

Huang Xuande: On Mobile I think we've mentioned in our release that in Q4 it accounted for 61.4% of total orders and we've had almost two months now in Q1 and what I can tell you is we're seeing continued growth in that number. And we don't disclose GMV contributions for mobile but that number is lower than the odd percentage orders because the ticket size grows smaller. But as you can understand when it comes for increasingly high percentages towards GMV, the past order size naturally converges to the overall average. So it's going up, it's getting closer to PC numbers on the overall numbers. And as far as contribution from WeChat and Mobile QQ with the two Tencent properties we're continuing to see good progress.

In terms of order contribution and GMV contribution, especially after Double-11 because through Double-11 we have campaigned and it's a good time for us to acquire new users from these two channels. So after that we're seeing DAU and a number of these numbers go up. And we're also seeing reasonable improvement on conversion. So we're going to continue to focus on working with the Tencent team closely to improve the productivity of those two channels.

Shen Haoyu: And for lower tier cities, order contribution is around 45% in Q3, in Q4.

Liu Qiangdong: So we had a big year last year actually in penetration of lower tier cities and that's just Richard said, we are seeing this year, 2016, as the -- so the last year we really get the vast majority of the job done. And this year we'll cover 400,000 villages in China, and the total is 600,000 I believe.

This will mark by and large the end of almost 10 years of JDs continued increase in coverage of the entire country. Once we have finished the coverage, we will work continue to reduce cost and do innovations. One example is, we've got permission from two county governments to use drones to deliver packages in China, and we hope by end of this year we have more places where we can really deliver our JD packages to our customers using drones.

86Reseach’s analyst: I want to know what percentage of 1P GMV coming from the general merchandise and is 1P general merchandise growing faster or slower than the overall general merchandise GMV. And my second question, you mentioned you have 4 million square meter warehouse capacity right now, can you give us any color how we see this number go up next year and what kind of growth rate?

So for 1P business, general merchandise is definitely growing much, much faster than our electronics categories. So if you look at -- I'll just quickly give you a sense. Even within 1P general merchandise is growing at a tripe digit but the contribution today is still relatively lower but it is quickly catching up. What was the other question?

Yes, so we have got 4 million square meters and you can expect the growth pretty much consistent with our 1P business growth, as well as our development of the third-party procurement services. You can take our revenue growth rate and add a margin on top of that to estimate the warehousing square meters growth.

Citigroup’s analyst: My first question is, can management comment about fresh sales in these rates and what's the contribution through GMV right now? And my second question is about new initiative in payment. Can management talk about your expectations in terms of your payment initiative and how many uses you will like to achieve for your posted ecosystem?

Huang Xuande: Our fresh sales continue to grow very, very fast. In Q4 I think it's over 300% growth year-over-year over a small base. And in absolute terms it's over 1% of the company's GMV. And we will continue to see very fast growth this year.

Shen Haoyu: On the payment adoption rate, we do see increasing timing of our customers and bundling of their credit cuts and debit cuts to our payment solutions. So right now our focus is to mainly adoption of our consumers to -- on the JD platform, basically paying for JD purchases using JD payment. We do have some initiatives pondering of which so far the external merchants but it's still in fairly early stage.

Goldman Sachs’s analyst: So last time you guys mentioned about your Omni-channel offering to your brand partners such as some of the apparel brands to help them do O2O basically. I think now you took this one step forward by signing a strategic cooperation agreement with Lining last December. So can you elaborate a little bit more on this, what's the progress so far and what's your plan going forward.And if so, I think you just mentioned you have 4 million square meters of warehouses and the sixth Asia number one warehouses self-built. So can you update us on the proportion between self-built and rent warehouses?

Huang Xuande: The collaboration with Lining is -- we took over their note in China logistics for logistic services to their stores and also to their resellers. And we also -- if they are successful, we also intend to build those out in other regions for them and we're also probably help them with e-commerce logistics as well. So the initiative last time as far as working with the apparel brand stores leveraged the inventory for e-commerce. We continue to do that and continue to make progress. And if you look at our entire floor space, which is almost 4 million, still a pretty small percentage is self-built which is Asia number one, and we have six online now. As we have more of these warehouses come online as a percentage, we'll go up. I think we mentioned we have six now in production that -- these warehouses are built and they do come online in phases. For example; in Wuhan, we do have a few structures in production right now but we're still building more structures. So it's sort of via phased process.

Liu Qiangdong: In most of these sub-cities where we build Asia number one they do come in phases; phase 1, phase 2, phase 3. Really we paced that according to our sales growth.

JP Morgan’s analyst: Given the headcount expansion your fulfilment personal, how do we see the fulfilment cost as a percentage of revenue trending this year. And also do we consider engaging cross-sourcing logistic partners for JD Daojia to be more cost efficient? My second question is on the margin dilution that you mentioned during the prepared remarks from O2O and Internet finance. Do you provide more color on the respective margin profiles for the business and also what is the revenue contribution from O2O and JD Finance respectively?

Huang Xuande: As far as the logistic cost as a component of percentage revenue, it goes up but we on a day-to-day basis we manage logistic cost per order. So in R&D terms, we continue to see that number go down which is quite amazing considering we've already have -- we are the leading e-commerce operator in China. But as we have more innovation in our processes, and as we grow in our scale, we continue to see logistic cost per order go down, as a percentage of revenue then it relates to basket size. As we mentioned, in Q4 we're seeing -- we would get our previous campaign on consumables which can't have a small basket size. So as we -- as the mix shifts in our categories this will drive the change of basket size. But also as Sidney mentioned, we are looking into different ways to encourage customers to increases the basket size so that our economics will be better. We were very vigilant on these metrics.

Shen Haoyu: On the respective margin profiles, as I mentioned that in Q4 excluding Internet finance and O2O, our core business net margin -- non-GAAP net margin was positive. So because it was fairly steep loss in Q4 on a non-GAAP basis you can have a sense that basically that entire loss was attributable to those new business lines. So you get a sense the extent of investments we are making in those two businesses. And also we mentioned that for 2016, on a core business basis, our operating margin is budgeted to improve significantly from the current level for JD Mall business. But we wanted to remain some flexibility at the beginning of the year in terms of deep channel investments in those new areas.

Liu Qiangdong: So as the core of retail e-commerce business improves its profitability, and then we also think that the new business -- the absolute loss, the absolute investment for these new business in absolute terms will not increase a lot year-over-year. So combined these two dynamics, you will see our overall profitability of the company will improve overtime.

Recently two couriers, major couriers in China, I think they are called STO and YTO, went top in China so we did get a chance to see the numbers. If you look at their number their price per parcel on average in China is about RMB13 per parcel -- over RMB13 per parcel. And if we look at our internal numbers, as far as delivery is concerned, it's lower than that. So we are very encouraged by these numbers and we are more convinced than before that because of our scale, because of our innovation, internally in-house with the very good decision we made years ago.

T.H. Capital’s analyst: The question is related to your crowd-funding business and we witness that Taobao also had research business and the reason to be growing better rapidly. So how do you see this online crowd-funding market is evolving in the future? And what is JD.com's advantage over others? 

Huang Xuande: So for crowd-funding I'll take a shot first. We have both protocol from the end. So for product side, we do have a 1P platform to support the latest innovative products that are on our corresponding start-up business. And we are the pioneer in this business, so despite of multiple players in the market, we continue to be confident in maintaining our market leadership. For equity crowd-funding then this is more about clinical system that you built around this business by introducing various third-party service providers, like marketing firm spending, design firms. So we have built an ecosystem to support our crowd-funding partners, our equity crowd-funding partners to develop their business. Now having said that, this is still fairly new business, so we're not saying that this is what we have clearly no one can claim victory. I think every player still has a clear chance to try their best and become a leader in the industry. So we will see in the next few quarters how we continue to develop this business.

For GMV from our internet finance business, only the crowd-funding product side will be recorded in GMV terms, none of the other businesses will be part of the GMV that we disclosed. And they are -- internally we look at gross transaction volume which we have to disclose in earnings release, the financing side. So if gross transaction volume not -- for especially on the supplier side. From revenue, if it's the interest income from supplier financing it will continue to be recorded as a reduction to cost. If it's interest from consumers and yes, that will be recorded as part of revenue but because right now the interest level has been fairly low, we have just B&G started differentiated pricing -- this is risk-based pricing. So at this point the revenue contribution is still very, very small.

SunTrust’s analyst: I was wondering two items higher level. One, could you talk about any impact if any from just the general economy slowdown or gyrations in the stock markets on GMV growth? And then number two, your competitor talked about the impact of whether during the quarter, I was wondering if you could give us any quantification on the impact if any at all on weather.

Huang Xuande: Sure. So we -- I mentioned at the beginning of my remarks that despite of the economic slowdown, the consumption growth and the overall consumption growth in China was still quite healthy with a growth rate of over 11% in the fourth quarter, up from plus 10% in the previous nine months. So that is a good validation of our assessment in the past that despite of the macro slowdown the consumption growth remains healthy and we -- I mentioned a few drivers enough for that in the past. But again, there could be a lagging effect of the macro slowdown on the consumptions. So we remain still, that's how we remain cautiously optimistic about our outlook.

Shen Haoyu: Yes, the weather I think -- there are certain people who asked this question last time as well, I -- but we haven't seen any meaningful impact from weather and personally, I don't even know it's a cold winter or a warm winter.

Nomura’s analyst: I have a question about your internet finance business. And I understand quite a few Chinese companies are now doing this internet consumption loan or high internet finance business. So I was wondering, compared to your competitors what are JDs competitive edge is this internet finance business and also how much of your Q4 GMV is linked to the consumption loan you provide for your customers?

Liu Qiangdong: So for all new products or just as products in general, JD focuses on improving customer experience. So if you look at our Jingdong pie chart, the consumer financing product, it definitely improves the overall user experience on JD shopping. So that's very, very important aspect. We also mentioned about risk management which we focus our large part of our R&D on the risk management. So we hope it will be a differentiated advantage. We also have with JD Mall business, we have unique consumer insight and which can help us in close building the risk management model but also developing more uniquely customer-friendly products.

So Mr. Liu mentioned the last point is we have our own internal strict guideline on what kind of products we will develop. In the past couple of years when there is a huge rush to P-to-P products and we stayed away from that business and never already get close to it because it didn't really match or fit our internal risk management appetite and policy.

So in addition to our customer-first philosophy, our JD Finance business definitely is embracing the innovative spirit and coming up with actual credit through number one. We are the first company to introduce consumer financing for Jingdong buy for e-commerce. And we are the first in introducing product crowd-funding and also equity crowd-funding business in China. So if -- we intend to continue to innovate and already generate the part of our surprises to our consumers. And if we can achieve that we are confident that our JD Finance business will bring just like JD Mall offering significant value to our shareholders.

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[The article is published and edited with authorization from the author @TMTpost-Chinese, please note source and hyperlink when reproduce.]

Translated by Levin Feng (Senior Translator at PAGE TO PAGE), working for TMTpost.

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