Alibaba & Hema sharing technology to transform Beijing as ‘city of new retail’


China’s massive e-commerce platform, Alibaba is taking huge strides towards its bold vision of new retail as the conglomerate announced recently to, leveraging its technological advances and retail know how, transform China’s capital city Beijing into a “city of new retail”.

Hangzhou-based Alibaba made the announcement at this year’s Beijing Fair held on May the 28th and inked up a strategic partnership deal with the Beijing municipal government.

According to the partnership, Alibaba will be applying an assortment of technologies including big data, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, online mapping, etc., coupled by its online and offline businesses such as the food delivery service, Hema Xiansheng the convenience store, to help catapult Beijing into a new retail city envisaged by Alibaba.

For instance, thanks to the online technologies and virtual traffic brought in by Tmall, Alibaba’s B2C marketplace, many Beijing-grown time-honored brands saw their offline transaction grew by 85% in the first four months of 2018.

The tie-up with Beijing is part of the commerce giant’s grand plan to integrate and weave a bunch of its retail-related business units – from Tmall (online B2C), Hema (offline new retail store), Koubei (local life services platform), to Eleme (food delivery) and so on – into more cities across China, Beijing is one of the first batch of test beds for the initiative.

TMall supermarket, Alibaba’s answer to arch-foe JD’s online supermarket business, promises 1-hour-delivery for neighboring communities, and has covered thousands of communities; Hema Xiansheng, the post child of Alibaba’s new retail concept, is opening another 30 stores in Beijing to serve more communities; Sanyuanli food market, the renowned fresh good market sells basically everything you’ll need in your kitchen, is also adopting technologies to become cashless and hassle-free.

While the overwhelming growth in China’s e-commerce has led to Alibaba’s present success, it’s interesting to know that 82% of the market still belongs to the offline retail segment.

With the growth in the online shopping area is slowing down, Alibaba turned its eyes to the brick-and-mortar channels for further growth. Jack Ma, Alibaba’s founder and chairman conceptualized “new retail”, an idea to blend offline and online channels together in a unified fashion, providing a seamless complete retail experience across multiple channels.

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