An employee looks for items to be shipped at a vertical storage unit inside JD.com Inc.’s logistics base in Shanghai, China, on Thursday, March 30, 2017. E-commerce giant JD.com is developing robotic technology to automate the company’s warehouses. Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg

While not nearly as dramatic as Walmart’s $18 billion bet on Flipkart India, their recent announcement to invest $320 million in China’s Dada-JD Daojia could provide a glimpse into the future of retail.

China is a fascinating market to study retail’s evolution. It is the largest e-commerce market in the world with a massive and increasingly affluent population. More significantly, they have the advantage of limited existing infrastructure. These factors are allowing aggressive companies to quickly create assets that are more adept at meeting current customer needs without worrying about cannibalization or utilization of existing brick and mortar.

The two companies to watch are Alibaba.com, which has the largest marketplace in the world and JD.com. I have written quite a bit…