As part of a corporate tour, X5 Retail Group discovered a whole new world of technology in the Middle Kingdom on April 14–17.
Here are some interesting facts about the tour participants:
7Fresh is a high-tech supermarket by JD.com. The new 4,000-square-meter store in Beijing has a wide range of fresh and cooked products. 7Fresh delivers orders within 5 km in 30 minutes.
The tour participants were met by the store’s manager who showed them how the store worked and what kind of innovations were being used there (for example, when products were scanned, information about the manufacturer was displayed on a screen, including the country of origin, production site and product contents. This applied to fresh produce).
What drew the participants’ attention immediately was how perfectly clean the store was (the fridges looked brand new and the shelves were spotless), which was not really surprising, given that cleanliness is the norm in China. For example, the iron fences in the streets that separate the pedestrian area from the road are washed by municipal workers with brushes and soap solution.
The store has two types of cafés:
Plug and Play
The famous international accelerator is an irreplaceable link connecting top corporations, startups, universities in major cities, and cross-border projects. After its successful launch in 2015, the Chinese office of Plug and Play invested in more than 200 startups and accelerated more than 500 startups in 8 large Chinese cities including Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen.
As for the company’s position toward European countries, it has a branch in each one, for example:
Plug and Play can monitor businesses and startups and offer the list to the final customer, at which point the startups that will be partnered with are chosen.
The company closely cooperates with the state.
TusHolding is a group of S&T investment holdings based in Tsinghua University that specializes in science and technology services. Tsinghua University is fully responsible for the development, construction, operation, and management of TusPark, being one of China’s first demonstration enterprises in the field of modern service.
The tour participants visited the demonstration hall where they saw how companies are formed and developed, how many kinds of such companies there are and what they produce.
The holding owns several buildings in the centre of Beijing and it is greatly dependent on the state policy.
TealDANCE is Russia’s first business accelerator in China with 100% Russian capital, operating with the support of TealTech Capital Fund.
The fund was founded by VkusVill, Khimrar, and Agama, three prominent industry leaders in Russia. DANCE is an acronym that stands for Data Networks Cloud Algorithms Equipment. In a short time, the accelerator’s international team and experts will teach you how to use all the opportunities offered by the Chinese market to create and promote your product. Here, teal means modern entrepreneurial principles that the company supports:
The startup’s most interesting features in mainland China are:
BingoBox has already installed 200 of its automated shops. Now, the company plans to expand its business by entering the markets of Hong Kong, East Asia, and eventually the world. In the near future, the company plans to increase the number of automated stores to 5,000.
It has been one of the trends in Chinese retail to try and introduce something new into the domestic business by copying or observing the development of other large international companies. Initially, companies introduce international innovations into Chinese business and then become leaders in the field themselves.
Let’s now discuss the store that works 27/7 and fits into a small container where most of the everyday necessities can be found. Such shops are very popular and have a high footfall (since most of them are located in neighborhoods with a lot of offices).
Visiting Auchan 1 Minute
After a trial period in 2017, Auchan Retail China moved on to the second stage of implementing its city convenience concept. On October 25, the company entered a partnership with Hisense, a global leader in digital retail and intelligent appliances.
In our increasingly urbanized world, where four million people are projected to live in cities by 2025, Auchan Retail, the 11th largest grocery retailer in the world, launched an Auchan Minute store in Shanghai’s Yangpu District.
This fully automated outlet allows citizens to use automated stores next to their homes. There are no sales assistants at the stores. Customers use the WeChat app to scan the code and enter. Scanned products are added to a virtual cart. The customers pay for their purchases via AliPay or WeChat Pay.
Visit to an Auchan supermarket
Three values – trust, openness, and excellence – support the company’s vision reflected in its slogan “Auchan changes lives”.
Citysuper is a small premium-class store selling luxury items imported to China from all over the world. The store is the epitome of a boutique approach as it sells targeted products for middle-class consumers who like to combine shopping and eating out. The main focus is on fresh produce of the middle and/or premium segment.
Citysuper represents the actively growing format of “high-end supermarket + fresh food restaurant + O2O”.
In the first quarter of 2017, the operating income of Yonghui Superstores reached RMB 15.3 billion (USD 2.3 billion), which is 13.8% more that it was in the same period of 2016.
Its conventional retail chain includes about 500 stores and plans are being made to open 200 more.
The company employs 70,000 people. The prices are 2 or 3 times higher than those in other supermarkets. The shops in this chain are located in neighborhoods where they are popular. The chain offers a rather limited range of products including fresh produce, refrigerated meat and seafood. The chain focuses mainly on Western sweets and snacks – customers come here to do a quick bit of shopping and take hope just a couple of items.
Walmart (Wal-Mart) China
The retail giant entered the Chinese market in 1996. It includes two retail formats, Wal-Mart supercenters and Sam’s Club stores. After acquiring Yihaodian.com, Wal-Mart launched a mobile app so its customers could have purchases delivered to their homes.
In June 2016, Wal-Mart and Chinese e-commerce company JD.com announced their strategic alliance aimed at improving customer service throughout the country through synergy of traditional and online retail.
Hema is Alibaba’s first brick-and-mortar store. Hema leverages data and intelligent logistics technology to seamlessly integrate autonomous online systems designed to deliver fresh produce in 30 minutes.
Li&Fung is the holding all the most famous brands use to enter the Chinese market. Its portfolio includes luxury and casual segments. The company supports the full cycle of introducing a brand into the market and promoting it.
The tour participants walked through the company’s demonstration halls where they saw for themselves that Li&Fung offers its clients a “turnkey solution”, from design to fully equipped warehouses.
TechNode is China’s leading technology-themed blog aiming to unite the Chinese technology sector and the English-speaking world.
Written in English and Chinese, TechNode posts discuss startups and technology-related events in China and Asia in general.
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