Tencent just accelerated its pace in the retail business.

China’s tech giant Tencent announced strategic cooperation with Walmart China on digital and smart retail. The cooperation will help the worlds’ largest brick-and-mortar retailer to expand digitally in China and expand the penetration of Tencent’s services such as mobile payments and mini programs.

According to Tencent’s press release, the cooperation will focus on improving customer experiences, precision marketing, payment services and the efficiency of internal and external communications through WeChat Enterprise. It also aims to build a stronger membership system for Walmart high-end store Sam’s Club.

Walmart China experimented with “smart stores” in March with Tencent mini program “Walmart Scan and Pay(扫玛购)” in Shenzhen, where customers can scan the bar code of the products with their own phone and pay. Now this mini program is available at Walmart stores in 28 cities and expected to cover more than 400 stores in China.

Apart from Walmart, Tencent also invested in Carrefour China in January, the French-based retailer and Walmart’s competitor in China, to expand its retailing and payment business. Carrefour can also benefit from deal in reaching more consumers by Tencent’s large user base and advantage in digital promotion.

Before cooperating with Tencent, Walmart China opened an online store on JD.com in mid-2017, one of China’s largest e-commerce platforms and orders will be fulfilled by JD’s in-house delivery services. The partnership seems to be working. According to the company’s press release, despite decreasing gross profit rate, Walmart total sales in China market grew 6% in the first quarter of 2018, same-store sales up 4 percent, the biggest growth in five years, compared with the same period last year and the sales of JD.com grew over 400% since launching. The company said they would continue to expand the cooperation.

Jiefei Liu

Jiefei Liu is a Beijing based tech reporter. She focuses on the union of tech and content creation and loves agriculture. You can write to her at Jiefei@technode.com

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