Alibaba Deepens Its Grasp in Retail with a New Chinese Supermarket Tie-Up

Alibaba Deepens Its Grasp in Retail with a New Chinese Supermarket Tie-Up

The company, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd is collaborating with Shanghai Bailian Group Co., which is one of the largest department store chains and supermarkets in China. The reason for this collaboration is Jack Ma was to accentuate his efforts to transform the conventional retail business with technology.

Alibaba has thought of a plan to offer assistance to 4,700 stores of Bailian to upgrade themselves. The stores will have features similar to its previous tie-up companies like Suning Commerce Group Co., which is a chain working in the electronics sector. The features include logistics, payment modules and customer relations.

Alibaba has become the juggernaut of the online business and has been successful in vanquishing China’s Amazon and EBay. It has now shifted its focus on the retail business of domestic brick and mortar stores and has decided to invest a capital worth 4 trillion dollars to incorporate its technology in this field. Moreover, Alibaba is also bidding to buy Intime Retail Group Co, which is a departmental store chain for a sum worth for 2.6 billion dollars.

The co-founder of the company who is a billionaire has the vision to build a vast network that permits all the brands and stores to monitor all their transactions whenever they happen and get rid of the distributor layers in order to place the online orders in real time.

Some sources revealed that China Securities Journal has reported that the shares of Bailian rose by 10 percent in Shanghai after the news of their collaboration with Alibaba was confirmed.

Daniel Zhang, the CEO of Alibaba said in a statement via email – “Our partnership with Bailian is an important milestone in the evolution of Chinese retail, where the distinction between physical and virtual commerce is becoming obsolete.” Inc. is also keen to demonstrate how technology can transform the age-old shopping experience. It unveiled Amazon Go in December, allowing Seattle shoppers to grab groceries without waiting in checkout lines as their account is automatically charged when they exit. Like Alibaba, the U.S. e-commerce titan has extensive experience working with reams of valuable customers and supply chain data and shopping patterns.

With Bailian, Alibaba will be tapping a network of 4,700 stores across 25 Chinese provinces. Apart from Intime, the Hangzhou, China-based company has already invested in retail operators, including Suning and Sanjiang Shopping Club Co. to advance its so-called new retail experiment. 

Alibaba won’t be taking a stake in Bailian. But the pair will integrate their membership databases and use facial recognition technology to improve shoppers’ experiences, the company said in an e-mail. Alibaba’s online payments system, Alipay will be available at all Bailian stores. The e-commerce giant’s delivery affiliate — Cainiao Smart Logistics Network Ltd. — will work with Bailian to flesh out protocols that make the system more efficient.

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