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Alibaba invests in tech for fruit handling

Alibaba invests in tech for fruit handling
Photo: Alibaba

Alibaba has announced that it will add several new fruits, including Dekopon tangerines, to its online and offline ranges, thanks to the firm’s five new digital agricultural processing centres set up across the country, fitted with the latest technology. In Shandong, a sorting line for locally grown cherries will start operating in the Alibaba Zibo Digital Agriculture Warehouse in April. Until now, China had only been able to grade fruit for size and appearance, but not the colour. Colour is important not only for appearance but also as an indicator of ripeness. The new sorting equipment not only adds a colour index, but also establishes a more detailed index for inspecting appearance to eliminate problems such as soft flesh, cracked fruit, and deformity.

Meanwhile, the Alibaba Production Warehouse in Xi’an, in the northwest of the country, is developing a new robot whose main function is to transport the packed fruits to a location according to instructions and stack the boxes neatly. As the Spring Festival approaches, Orah mandarins from Yunnan and Guangxi are expected to reach large marketed volumes by mid-January. To this end, Alibaba’s two production warehouses in Kunming and Nanning are equipped with three fully automatic smart packaging lines, which can pack at least 100,000 packs per day. From sorting to packaging, 70% of the work can be done by robots.

 

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Alibaba secures controlling stake in Sun Art

Alibaba secures controlling stake in Sun Art

 

Online retail giant Alibaba has acquired a controlling stake in leading Chinese hypermarket and supermarket operator Sun Art Retail Group. As Retail Gazette reports, the move, costing approximately US$3.6 billion, takes Ali Baba’s stake to approximately 72% and strengthens the firm’s commitment to integrating online and offline resources in China’s retail sector. 

Alibaba originally acquired a stake in Sun Art in 2017, as part of a strategic alliance with Auchan Retail and Ruentex Group to digitalise and introduce New Retail solutions at Sun Art stores.

Daniel Zhang, chairman and chief executive of Alibaba Group, said this new investment represented the next step in the company’s New Retail strategy: “The alliance we formed with Auchan Retail and Ruentex was instrumental in building a robust infrastructure to create opportunities and value in China’s retail sector. Led by chief executive Peter Huang, Sun Art has achieved impressive results in its digitalisation, and pursued promising synergies with businesses across the Alibaba digital economy. As the Covid-19 pandemic is accelerating the digitalisation of consumer lifestyles and enterprise operations, this commitment to Sun Art serves to strengthen our New Retail vision and serve more consumers with a fully integrated experience.”

As of 30 June, 2020 Sun Art operates 481 hypermarkets and three mid-size supermarkets in China and all Sun Art physical stores have been integrated into Alibaba’s Taoxianda and Tmall Supermarket platforms, providing one-hour and half-day on-demand delivery.

Photo: SUN ART Retail

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Alibaba strengthens local services by merging platforms

Alibaba strengthens local services by merging platforms

 

One area in which Chinese online retail giant Alibaba is considered to be weak is in local services, at least compared with its rival Meituan (owned by Tencent). Meituan’s quarterly food delivery business revenue is more than twice what Alibaba generates from quarterly revenues from local consumer services (around CNY6.8bn). This is what has prompted Alibaba to integrate its local service platforms, Koubei and Ele.me, with its group-buying platform, Juhuasuan. The move is intended to upgrade local services to Juhuasan by offering digitally enhanced services. The integration allows Koubei and Ele.me to use an additional sales channel (Juhuasan) to compete with their rival Meituan.

Koubei and Ele.me developed digital coupon capability this year, allowing local service providers to offer promotions including multibuy, “buy one get one free” and “50% off” for the first time.

TAGS: retail, Alibaba, Koubei. Ele.me

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Alibaba reduces field-to-fridge time

 

Retail giant Alibaba’s sales and digital marketing platform, Juhuasuan, offers its customers the chance to pre-order goods, even before they’ve been harvested. The service, called ‘Jutudi’, was launched in 2014 and allows customers to ‘buy’ a plot of farmland and receive the products from this land immediately after harvest. This means that the produce is fresher, cheaper and traceable (using QR codes). Some products purchased via Jutudi cost between 30% and 50% less than the market price. Deliveries can take as little as 48 hours.

The platform is also aimed at helping farmers plan their production, as they can target high demand at an early stage while also avoiding over-production. Currently working with 20 cooperatives as part of the Jutudi initiative, within the next two years, Juhuasuan aims to increase the number to over 1,000 farming partners.

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First Fresh 20 takes place in Hangzhou

First Fresh 20

Spending on fresh food accounts for over 50% of the average Chinese urban household’s overall expenditure. The modernisation of consumption habits in China is attracting the attention of the world’s top fresh food players. On May 11-12, the world’s leading fresh food companies, including Clear Water, Marine Harvest, Cargill, Danish Crown and Camposol, gathered in Hangzhou for China’s First Fresh 20. The event was jointly hosted by the Alibaba and Win-Chain supply chains and focused on the development of the fresh food industry. CEOs from leading firms shared knowledge and discussed trends.

During the summit, Alibaba and Win-Chain signed a joint declaration with the other twenty global fresh food giants present. Its aim is to identify new opportunities and new growth points in the fresh food industry, as well as new models for sustainable development in the industry in China.  In 2018, Alibaba initiated its “Grand Import” strategy, and set up a global purchasing centre. At F20, Daniel Zhang, CEO of Alibaba Group, noted that Win-Chain would become the group’s global centralised purchasing platform for fresh food, to promote upgrading and standardisation. It will become a key approach for Alibaba to build a global presence in the field of fresh food.

Win-Chain will provide a one-stop solution for fresh food suppliers, from the farm to the dining table. With omnichannels sales incorporating Yiguo APP, Tmall Fresh, Suning Fresh and Alibaba New Retail, Win-Chain provides upstream fresh food suppliers with a total solution in the Chinese market, including cold chain distribution service, product consumer-branding, and big data support. It is designed to become a fast-track linking upstream and downstream fresh food businesses.

 

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Chilean cherries top Alibaba’s fresh produce sales on Singles’ Day in China

Alibaba's Mr. Fresh, ASOEX and Fruta Cloud joined forces to promote Chile’s cherries on China’s biggest shopping day ever

Chilean cherries have once again played a big role in Alibaba’s sales on Singles’ Day in China.

The e-commerce giant made a record RMB 120.7 billion (USD 17.8 billion) in gross merchandise volume during the shopping festival, celebrated on November 11.

According to a press release from Fruta Cloud – which helps customers source fresh, quality fruit from around the world – this year Chile’s fruit exporters association ASOEX joined with Alibaba and Fruta Cloud to promote the ideal growing conditions, the rich farming history and the advanced technology behind cherries from Chile.

Alibaba’s Mr. Fresh, ASOEX and Fruta Cloud joined forces to promote Chile’s cherries on China’s biggest shopping day

November 11 also marked the start of the Chilean cherry season and ASOEX’s marketing campaign, it said.

“As the major supplier for Alibaba’s Mr. Fresh, Fruta Cloud invested resources in procurement, quality control and logistics to guarantee the optimal consumer experience,” it said.

Known for its massive discounts, the November 11 shopping festival had a new theme this year to show that the Chinese consumers are looking for a premium product at a reasonable price.

Arrival of air freight of cherries from Chile to China imported by Fruta Cloud

“Mr. Fresh and Fruta Cloud unveiled super-sized (JJJ, 30mm) Chilean cherries for the first time.

“They were quickly sold out before the festival began. Indeed, Chilean cherries became the highest grossing item in the fresh produce category.

“Our effort demonstrates that there is a genuine and growing demand for premium produce on Alibaba’s Tmall platform,” said Fruta Cloud CEO George Liu.

“ASOEX’s marketing message really resonates with our customers, I think it’s a bold and effective campaign that helps Chilean cherries build strong brand recognition and loyalty in the minds of the growing upper middle class,” Liu said.

Source: Fruta Cloud