JD.com is apparently making a U-turn in its plans to expand to the European market. Six months after Founder and CEO Richard Liu told German newspaper Handelsblatt that the company was soon to open an office in the country, a spokesperson for the Chinese e-commerce giant told the same publication that, actually, a decision hasn’t been made yet in that regard. “As far as I know, there will be no office in Germany in the first half of 2019”, said the spokesperson, adding that new decisions will only be made in the beginning of February.
It is unclear whether this step back has anything to do with the blow suffered by the company due to a sexual assault accusation against Liu. Last week, JD.com announced it will buy back 1 billion US dollars worth of its shares following a drop of more than 60 percent since September, when a 21-year-old student accused Liu of raping her. The CEO was arrested at the time, but no charges were pressed against him for lack of sufficient evidence.
JD.com is China’s second biggest e-commerce company, after Alibaba. Last year, Google invested 550 million dollars in the company as part of a partnership to develop joint retail solutions in a range of regions around the world, including Southeast Asia, the US and Europe.