After decades of stunning growth, there’s little space left in China’s highly consolidated e-commerce market. Fresh food e-commerce—one of the few less-tapped verticals to crack into this field—is, however, expected to become the next “whirlwind” driven by the wide adoption of healthier lifestyles, product diversification, and customer habits.

Different from traditional e-commerce, fresh food e-commerce in China has much higher logistics requirements both in shorter delivery time and cold-chain logistics to ensure product quality. The timely and high-frequency nature of fresh food e-commerce orders clicks with what China’s O2O and “new retail” trends can offer. Coined by Jack Ma, the term refers to a new format where internet technology connects and optimizes offline outlets, online stores, and the overall supply chain for achieving high efficiency and self-service.

China’s fresh food e-commerce has recorded strong growth with trading volume soaring 80% YoY to RMB 91.3 billion in 2016 (in Chinese), increasing steadily from RMB 4.05 billion in 2012, according to a report by China E-commerce Research Center (CECRC). This figure is expected to jump to RMB 150 billion in 2017.

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Emma Lee

Emma Lee is Shanghai-based tech writer, covering startups and tech happenings in China and Asia in general. We are looking for stories related to tech and China. Reach her at lixin@technode.com.