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Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. today announced it has acquired the outstanding shares in Yihaodian, taking full ownership of its fast-growing e-commerce business in China.  Wang Lu, president and CEO of Walmart Global eCommerce in Asia, will lead Yihaodian as part of his overall executive responsibilities.

With full ownership of Yihaodian, Walmart plans to invest in both accelerating e-commerce and creating a seamless experience for customers across online, mobile and stores.  Walmart, which previously held approximately 51 percent of Yihaodian, acquired the remaining shares from Ping An of China, a financial services group, and the co-founders, former Chairman Gang Yu and former CEO Junling Liu. The two co-founders announced earlier this month that they are leaving Yihaodian, and will continue to serve as Chairman Emeritus and Strategic Executive Advisor respectively to ensure a smooth transition and contribute to the future success of Yihaodian.  Walmart’s planned investments are included in the company’s previously announced e-commerce budget. 

“Yihaodian has excelled as one of China’s top e-commerce businesses.  We’re excited about the team at Yihaodian and their strong local e-commerce experience,” said Neil Ashe, president and CEO of Walmart Global eCommerce.  “This local experience, combined with Walmart’s global sourcing and our strong local retail presence and supply chain will allow us to deliver low prices on the products customers need in new and exciting ways.  Our investment in Yihaodian is part of our long-term commitment to grow in China, and we look forward to continuing to play a positive role in the development of the e-commerce industry.

“We thank Gang and Junling for their entrepreneurship and innovation, and for creating a world-class foundation and team to lead Yihaodian going forward.”

Yihaodian will continue operating under its existing name and will maintain its focus on having strong local leadership with a clear understanding of the needs of online consumers in China.

Wang Lu brings extensive experience in the digital space in China, with a strong understanding of how consumers shop on the web and through mobile.  Prior to joining Walmart Global eCommerce, Wang Lu was responsible for managing CBS Interactive in China, including the IT group, Auto group, Women & Fashion group and Lifestyle group.  Previously, he served as Senior Vice President and head of China at CNET Networks, the interactive content company, where he led the development of market leading web properties including ZOL, X-Car and OnlyLady.  He earlier managed the China business for Ziff-Davis Media. Wang Lu has a master’s degree/Executive MBA from Peking University, and a bachelor’s degree from Beijing Union University.

Yihaodian and Ping An of China will maintain a commercial relationship that includes joint marketing efforts.

As the founding shareholder of Yihaodian, Ping An of China has made significant contributions to Yihaodian’s early development. Ping An of China said that after taking into account the Group’s overall Internet finance strategy, it has decided to transfer the entire stake it holds in Yihaodian to Walmart. Ping An will continue its partnership with Walmart and Yihaodian to seek cooperation opportunities for a strong alliance in various areas in the future.