Tencent Holdings, the company's largest stakeholder, decided to sell most of its interest in the online retailer, sending Shares of JD.com down 8.6% in premarket trade on Thursday.

Tencent feels JD.com is now huge enough to not require its support, as its stock closed 4.2 % higher in Hong Kong.

Tencent announced that it will distribute around 457 million shares of JD.com, valued at over $16 billion, as a special dividend to its shareholders, making them JD.com stockholders.

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Tencent's stake in JD.com will be reduced from 17 % to 2.3 % as a result of the transaction.

Tencent President Martin Chiping Lau resigned from the JD.com board of directors in accordance with the decision. Both firms will continue to do business together, according to Tencent.

Tencent has amassed investments in a number of digital startups over the years in order to compete with Alibaba. Other prominent E-Commerce firms that it owns significant holdings in include food-delivery startup Meituan and farm-focused platform Pinduoduo.

Even if it trails Alibaba, JD.com has had a good run in recent years. The company generated net revenue of over 746 billion yuan (nearly $114 billion) for the year ended December 31, 2020, up 29 %. Net income increased by more than fourfold to more than 49 billion yuan.