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JD.com headquarters in California. Photo: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Despite rape allegations against its CEO, China's second-largest e-commerce company, JD.com, posted record quarterly earnings Friday with a $1.1 billion profit after a $364.6 million loss last year.

The big picture: The Nasdaq-listed company's stock got a major boost after reporting earnings but investors are starting to worry about its long-term health. As Axios' Erica Pandey reported, the 21% revenue growth posted by Chinese e-commerce giant was its slowest on record, signaling that the rush of new Chinese customers is starting to plateau. JD's chief rival, Alibaba, has also reported slowing growth.

Why it matters: The e-commerce companies experienced massive booms in earlier years as millions of new Chinese users entered the urban middle class and became customers. Now, the pace of growth for that user base is slowing down, forcing both JD and Alibaba to expand into other Asian markets to add shoppers.

My thought bubble: A big key to bullish expectations for China is that the country still has significant room to grow because of the number of rural citizens who could move into higher earning urban areas and occupations.

  • Together, India, China and Nigeria are expected to account for 35% of the projected growth of the world's urban population between 2018 and 2050, with China adding 255 million urban dwellers.

The bottom line: The dramatic slowing in revenue growth for JD and Alibaba suggest that growth may have hit a snag. That could have wide-ranging consequences for China and its trading partners.

Go deeper: JD.com makes 90% of its Chinese deliveries within 24 hours

Go deeper

5 hours ago - World

Maximum pressure campaign escalates with Fakhrizadeh killing

Photo: Fars News Agency via AP

The assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the architect of Iran’s military nuclear program, is a new height in the maximum pressure campaign led by the Trump administration and the Netanyahu government against Iran.

Why it matters: It exceeds the capture of the Iranian nuclear archives by the Mossad, and the sabotage in the advanced centrifuge facility in Natanz.

Scoop: Biden weighs retired General Lloyd Austin for Pentagon chief

Lloyd Austin testifying before Congress in 2015. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Joe Biden is considering retired four-star General Lloyd Austin as his nominee for defense secretary, adding him to a shortlist that includes Jeh Johnson, Tammy Duckworth and Michele Flournoy, two sources with direct knowledge of the decision-making tell Axios.

Why it matters: A nominee for Pentagon chief was noticeably absent when the president-elect rolled out his national security team Tuesday. Flournoy had been widely seen as the likely pick, but Axios is told other factors — race, experience, Biden's comfort level — have come into play.

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York COVID restrictions.
  3. World: Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.
  4. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in December Black Friday shopping across the U.S., in photosAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.