Alibaba vs. JD.com

Alibaba has long dominated China’s online retail market. Alibaba accounts for about 80 percent of all Chinese eCommerce sales, a majority of which go through its Taobao site that has about 8 million sellers. However, there are signs that its smaller competitor, JD.com, is closing the gap.

Alibaba Group Holding remains the giant, capturing nearly 59% of China’s fast-growing business-to-consumer marketplace with sales of everything from apparel to seafood, according to iResearch—largely through its Tmall site for large brands. JD.com’s share was 23% in the first quarter of 2015, the bulk of which comes from JD Mall, which buys products and sells them directly itself, as well as hosts third-party brands like Tmall.

Alibaba’s latest quarterly earnings showed that its growth is slowing — and slowing in a way that has some analysts concerned — but that doesn’t mean the eCommerce giant hasn’t come up with ways to keep its edge ahead of its smaller rivals.

JD.com, whose strength has historically been in electronics, has been gaining in areas like clothing that have typically been Alibaba’s bread and butter. JD.com has called apparel the “most important growth engine” for JD Mall. Meanwhile, the pop superstar announced that JD.com will be the official online source of Taylor Swift items in China, including a new fashion line the music superstar designed specifically for the Chinese market.

But no matter how hard JD tries to keep up with Alibaba, it’s like the physical retailers trying to keep up with Amazon.