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Business deals

Tencent becomes top shareholder of e-retailer JD.com

GUANGZHOU, China -- Tencent Holdings, China's largest internet and social media company, has emerged as the leading shareholder of the country's second-ranked online retailer, JD.com.

Tencent currently owns a 21.25% share, surpassing the 16.2% stake of JD.com CEO Richard Liu Qiangdong.

Though Tencent is now the largest shareholder, Liu still holds 80.9% of voting rights. Since Tencent's voting stake is likely to remain about 5%, major changes in management seem unlikely.

The two companies already cooperate in online retail and likely will fortify their relationship to expand their online businesses. Tencent had become a major JD.com shareholder, with a 15% stake, after announcing plans in March 2014 to invest $200 million in the company.

JD.com can gain an edge against rival Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding by cooperating with Tencent, which owns WeChat. The free chat app has over 800 million users in China.

The online retailer also is bolstering ties with Japanese companies such as delivery giant Yamato Holdings. Though the value of JD.com's transactions rose during the April-June quarter, growing competition in the market led the company to record a net loss of 252.3 million yuan ($37.9 million). This competition looks to intensify as companies strive to increase their share in the fast-growing e-commerce market.

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