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The Chinese ecommerce giant opens the largest hydroponic plat factory to produce fresh vegetables, in partnership with Japan’s Mitsubishi Chemical.

More News’s physical store 7FRESH will open its first store in Shanghai, marking an important step in its nationwide rollout.

Strategic importance

The new store will be located in Shangbin Plaza in Hongkou District and will be open for business in mid 2019. It marks 7FRESH’s first market entry in East China.

As a first-tier international city, Shanghai offers great opportunities for to build, test and improve its O+O (online + offline) business model. Data analysis of online shoppers’ preferences will be used to influence in-store decisions, so that local customers’ shopping needs can be better met.

Shanghai has a track recording of setting commercial examples for neighbouring provinces and regions. The opening of this store is strategically important for the retailer.

Deployment of national plan announced its plan of opening 1000 7FRESH stores in the next five years. After sorting out its supply chain, optimising the back-end technology and improving the quality control system, the plan is currently being implemented. Three additional stores will open doors soon in Southwest China in Guangzhou, Foshan and Dongguan.

Find out more information about and 7FRESH here.

Sign up here for free IGD Asia newsletter. has reported net revenues for the third quarter of 2018 at RMB 104.8bn (US$215.3bn), an increase of 25.1% from the third quarter of 2017. 

Key Developments in third quarter

Attracting more brands: has continued to attract major international brands, enhancing its position as the most reliable online channel for accessing the Chinese market. had 200,000 merchants on its online marketplace as of September 30, 2018.

Premium membership programme: Since its launch in 2016,’s premium membership programme JD Plus has now surpassed 10m users. JD continues to introduce new benefits to JD Plus members, including free shipping coupons, VIP customer service, exclusive discounts on selected product offerings and access to premium online content.

New investment in Dada-JD Daojia: Dada-JD Daojia, announced the completion of a new US$500m financing round with investments from Walmart and With Dada’s crowd-sourcing delivery network, Dada-JD Daojia has partnered with numerous grocery retailers covering 63 cities, to provide a one-hour home delivery service from the stores.'s Singles' Day Festival’s festival ran for 11 days starting on November 1. Transaction volume on reached a record RMB 159.8bn (US$23bn).’s festival ran for 11 days starting on November 1. Transaction volume on reached a record RMB 159.8bn (US$23bn).

During the period, JD sold more than 400m items offered by its Fast Moving Consumer Goods and Foods business group. The amount of imported fresh food sold doubled compared to the same period last year, with customers buying more than 29,500 tons of items such as meat, vegetables, fruit, and seafood.

JD also opened its largest 7FRESH store to date in Langfang, Hebei Province, on Singles' Day. On the opening day, the new store received more than 10,000 customers within a single hour.

Robot restaurant opened in Tianjin's XCafe can seat about 300 guests for dinner, with robots performing ordering, preparing, cooking and serving dishes. It currently serves around 40 dishes, with a potential full menu of more than 200 choices. The restaurant also features immersive dining experience areas with VR interactive games.

JD plans to open 1,000 robot restaurants by 2020.

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Official figures for China’s retail sales of consumer goods grew by 8.6% year-on-year to 3.55 trillion yuan (US$511bn) in October.

Robust online spending

The data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed that online spending remained robust, with sales increased by 25.5% to reach 7 trillion yuan in the first 10 months.

Rural outpaces urban growth

Retail sales in rural areas increased by 9.7% in October, outpacing growth in urban regions, where sales was up by 8.4%.

Slower growth vs. September due to the Singles’ Day

The growth of 8.6% in October is slower than the 9.2% rise in September. It is partly due to the delayed consumption ahead of the 11.11 Singles’ Day shopping festival.

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Alibaba has wrapped up its 11.11 Global Shopping Festival with a record breaking US$30.8bn of GMV (gross merchandise volume), a 27% growth compared to last year.

11.11 by numbers

According to Alibaba Group, more than 180,000 brands participated it the festival this year. Over 40% of consumers bought from international brands. 237 brands topped US$14m (CNY100m) in GMV, including leading international brands Apple, Dyson, Kindle, Estée Lauder, L’Oréal, Nestle, Gap, Nike and Adidas. The top countries for international brands sold were Japan, the U.S., South Korea, Australia and Germany.

Alibaba-owned Cainiao Smart Logistics Network handled more than 1bn orders for the first time for the festival. It has upgraded its technology and systems, even relying on satellites to improve the efficiency of its delivery partners. Lazada also held its own single-day shopping festival in its six Southeast Asian markets.

New Retail a highlight

Alibaba’s Hema Fresh, its supermarket chain, featured a number of promotions for 11.11. The 200,000 mom-and-pop stores powered by Alibaba’s Ling Shou Tong platform also provided online promotions. Rural Taobao added coupons to its services in 800 counties across 29 provinces in China.

Leading hypermarket operator RT-Mart, which Alibaba has invested, also participated in the festival.

"Today, around 200,000 smart stores joined November 11," Alibaba Group CEO Daniel Zhang said, "As we always say, we truly believe the first thing for brick-and-mortar stores who want to go New Retail to do is to go digital … For all those retail partners, why they actively participated was not because it was a shopping day, but because it was a day to give people a unique experience."

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This in-depth guide to China explores the key trends in grocery retail and the growth strategies of the leading retailers in the country.

Five year growth forecasts for the grocery market, the leading retailers and modern trade grocery channels in China.


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