Wal-mart has taken full ownership of China’s ecommerce platform Yihaodian, just a few months after the announcement that a Chinese joint-venture partner is not needed anymore for foreign companies to operate an ecommerce business.

The retail giant has been the leader in the retail industry for decades in the US, but after after entering China in 1996 has failed to reach the top position. By taking full ownership of Yihaodian, Wal-mart is not only trying to increase its “size” in China, but is also giving a strong signal regarding the future of its operations in the country, at a time when brick and mortar retailers in the decline due to the online competition.

Although Yihaodian is a major player in B2C China ecommerce, especially for selected types of goods, its size is nowhere near Tmall or JD. As stated by Neil Ashe, head of Wal-Mart’s e-commerce division, Yihaodian 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.” The website will be managed by Wang Lu, who already serve as the CEO of Wal-Mart eCommerce in Asia.

Since 2013, China has emerged as the largest eCommerce market in the world, surpassing USA, and online retail sales are expected to exceed USD 1 trillion by the end of 2019.