JD.com (NASDAQ:JD) reported earnings last week, and shares rose slightly on the results.
In this clip from MarketFoolery, our analysts explain the most important numbers, trends, and risks from JD's report, and then weigh in on the company's long-term potential in the shadow of such a giant competitor as Alibaba (NYSE:BABA). Tune in and find out if JD.com might be a company you want to dig more into.
A full transcript follows the video.
This video was recorded on Aug. 16, 2018.
Mac Greer: Shares of JD.com opened down on Thursday on weaker than expected revenues. But then, Andy, right before the show starts, I checked the stock, and it's up slightly. I should mention that JD.com is China's second largest e-commerce company. Second to Alibaba, which is around 10X bigger. 10X the market cap.
Ron Gross: [laughs] 10X the size.
Greer: But you know who's counting? So, Andy, what about JD.com?
Andy Cross: Well, you're right. It is a second compared to that mammoth, amazing company. But it's still a $50 billion market cap. It's not like chump change, Mac. It has $7 million in cash, $4 billion in debt. Sales growth for the quarter were up 31%. Now, that was the weakest quarter in a long time for JD.com. I think your original action that you saw in the market was people being concerned that the growth rates have slowed. And that is the case. But for them, it's the same thing that we're seeing with the other retailers who are doing well -- and that is investments they're making.
Their R&D expenses were up 80% this for the quarter. They continue to make investments into their e-commerce platform. Logistics is a big thing. They have more than 500 warehouses across China. They're adding more to the logistics. Something called retail as a service, or RaaS. Maybe you're familiar with SaaS, software as a service. They're going for retail as a service, logistics. They're spending money into technology, AI. They have some big partners too, Mac, including Walmart, who owns north of 10% of it. Tencent, another giant, giant company.
Greer: Heard of it.
Cross: Owns more than 18%, and the founder, Richard Liu, owns 17%. So, some big investors in behind this e-commerce giant.
Gross: Something for investors to be wary of. You have slowing growth and increased spending.
Greer: Tell me more!
Gross: That could translate into a double whammy of badness. However, if you spend correctly, you can rejuvenate growth at some point and perhaps live to fight another day, in terms of the growth rate picking up again. These growth rates are fine. I mean, 30% increase in revenue is nothing to sneeze at. But the question is, what are you going to pay for that? If the growth is decelerating, you'd better be careful what you pay for decelerating growth.
Greer: I want to talk a bit more about that. When we pull back here, and we look at this dynamic, they are the second biggest e-commerce player. But, Andy, as you mentioned, they're a tenth the size. They're a $50 billion market cap. Certainly not chump change. But a tenth the size of Alibaba. When you look at this dynamic, it's kind of the Nike - Under Armour dynamic. You have the second banana, but the first banana is just ginormous. Do you have a preference, as an investor, in terms of betting on the leader or betting on the second banana?
Gross: It comes down to price at some point for me. But I would typically bet on the leader, unless the second banana was really cheap, and I saw an opportunity to buy something on the cheap when maybe others were abandoning it for, perhaps, the wrong reasons. If I had a counter-opinion.
Greer: But not a rotten banana. You need it to be cheap, but not rotten.
Cross: I think betting on the leaders is the way to go. I think, specifically with JD, you look at the co-founder/ CEO still involved and owning a good chunk of the business. Google put in $500 million last month. They're partnering iQiyi, the Netflix of China, to offer a bundle packaging there. China's a massive e-commerce market, continuing to grow. Granted, growth rates might be slowing a little bit. Penetration of internet usage is still relatively low and growing. I think the market is so huge that both of these players can be a winner. JD is much more specific to the e-commerce platform and growing the e-commerce side of their business. In this case, I think going with the smaller player is still a good way to go.