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Carrefour has opened its second Le Marché supermarket in Shenzhen, China.

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UAE-based Majid Al Futtaim has rebranded its Pakistan-based Hyperstar chain to the Carrefour brand.

Rebranding to enhance modern retail

Majid Al Futtaim has operated stores in Pakistan, through the Hyperstar band, since 2009. The retailer has six Hyperstar hypermarkets in three major cities; Islamabad, Karachi and Lahore. Majid Al Futtaim said the rebranding to Carrefour will “enhance modern retail in Pakistan”.

Gyu Taeg Kim, Majid Al Futtaim’s country manager of Hyperstar Pakistan, added, “The rebranding to Carrefour is an important milestone for Majid Al Futtaim in Pakistan and comes with major expansion plans in the country. Operating under the Carrefour brand will… enable us to deliver an exceptional shopping experience to our customers”.

New loyalty programme and mobile app

As well as rebranding, the retailer has announced the launch of a loyalty programme and mobile app in Pakistan. The rebranded stores will use bio-degradable, reusable bags and offer free wi-fi, amongst a range of other services.

Carrefour Market to open in early 2019

Elsewhere in Pakistan, Majid Al Futtaim will open a new supermarket format under the Carrefour Market banner. The store will be opened in early 2019 in the Mall of Defence in Lahore. The retailer plans to open additional stores in Faisalabad, Gujranwala and Sialkot, amongst others, throughout 2019.

We have seen several retailers across Asia launch their own e-wallets recently, including AEON in Malaysia, and FamilyMart and Carrefour in Taiwan.

AEON launches its own e-wallet

Earlier this year, AEON introduced its e-wallet app. Available to download on Google Play and Apple App store, AEON's e-wallet allows shoppers to pay and earn points at participating AEON stores (AEON Big Hypermarkets, AEON MaxValu Prime and AEON Wellness) seamlessly. Users can pay by scanning the QR code at the point of sale and earn points for credit when making purchases with the app.

Users just need to add their credit card to the e-wallet and will then be able to monitor their balance and transaction history real-time. The app has a biometric login feature and multi-factor authentication to help reassure users any concerns about security.

AEON Asia Sdn Bhd.'s Managing Director, Shinobu Washizawa, said, "We realise that there is an increase in the use of mobile payments, thus the AEON e-wallet will not only provide our customers with convenience, but also a safe and secure payment system [...]."

Last year, the retailer announced plans to invest JPY500bn (US$4.4bn) in online operations over the next three years. It posted a robust set of H1 results earlier this month.

Other epayment solutions in Asia

The introduction of mobile payment services in Taiwan has been relatively slow despite high smartphone penetration. Many shoppers still prefer to purchase online and collect and pay in cash in-store. However, retailers are beginning to invest in more digital solutions, for example, FamilyMart (My FamiPay) and Carrefour (Carrefour Pay) have recently launched their own e-wallets in Taiwan. The latter allows users to add up to five credit cards in one app. Two of the most well-known epayment solutions in Asia are Alipay and WeChat pay.

Carrefour announced a strategic collaboration with Dada-JD Daojia, an online grocery and delivery firm owned by

New business platform

Around 6,000 products are available to be traded on the new online platform, of which 400 are imported goods. These products cover multiple categories including fruit and vegetables, dairy, ready-to-eat, BWS (beer, wine and spirits), snacks, cooking ingredients as well as health and beauty. The goal is to make all offline products of Carrefour available online over time.

Wide reach and visible results

This collaboration will create a wide reach for Carrefour. Currently 158 Carrefour stores in 31 major cities across the nation are listed on JD Daojia. The plan is to have 200 listed by the end of 2018. Following the collaboration, Carrefour’s online sales increased by 720% vs. the previous month according to JD Daojia’s data.

Boundless retail

Carrefour regards this collaboration as an important step towards its boundless retail by having more prominent presence online and reaching more shoppers across China. Dada-JD Daojia has two integrated business “Dada” and “JD Daojia”, all owned by Dada is an on-demand logistics platform and JD Daojia a ecommerce platform. JD Daiojia also partners with a number of major retailers, such as Walmart, CR Vanguard and Yonghui. It is not surprising that Carrefour is following suit.

Carrefour just published its Q3 results, click here for details and how it is growing its omnichannel presence globally. 

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Carrefour Asia’s executive director, Thierry Garnier, has highlighted how the retailer’s operating profit has improved in 2018. Garnier said the progress had been driven by its digital transformation, which has been aided by its strategic partnership with Tencent.

Partnership driving progress

Garnier pointed to Carrefour creating a strategic partnership in China with technology company Tencent. He said negotiations were continuing with supermarket operator Yonghui, which could lead to the latter investing in Carrefour China to help strengthen its overall operations.

Garnier went on to say further Carrefour Le Marche stores would be opened by the end of 2018, in Shenzhen, adding to the one already opened in Shanghai. As the more digitally-enabled Le Marche stores are rolled out, Carrefour China will look to extend its digital transformation to other stores and cities across the country.

China proving its worth as a testing ground

Garnier has previously said China is ‘the ideal location to develop new methods for attracting shoppers’, noting that the retailer was ‘very positive’ about its outlook in the country.

Speaking at Carrefour’s AGM its chief executive, Alexandre Bompard, noted the positive effect alliances were already having on its day to day operations. Bompard said the retailer’s digital commerce expansion was an ‘absolute priority’ given the growing competitive pressures in France and across Europe. The results from China will likely add weight to Bompard’s point of view and encourage Carrefour to see how it can use these alliances to support its operations globally.

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