Google is investing US$550 million in cash in China’s Inc. as part of a strategic alliance in online commerce.

Under the agreement, Google will buy 27.1 million newly issued Class A shares at US$20.29 per share, equivalent to US$40.58 per ADS, the companies said in a joint statement Monday. The pair plan to explore joint development of retail solutions in several regions, including Southeast Asia, the U.S. and Europe. JD also plans to make a selection of products available through Google Shopping in multiple regions

JD, which competes with giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., came under fire last month by a hedge-fund manager, who called China’s No. 2 e-commerce operator over-valued and criticized its “silly” investments. Kok Hoi Wong, chief investment officer for APS Asset Management Pte, said his own internal valuation for the $63 billion company was “a tiny figure.”

JD shares fell after the attack, but have more than recovered since then. JD was little changed in U.S. trading on Friday at US$43.59.

--With assistance from Yoolim Lee and Tom Mackenzie.