Shares of JD Health, the JD.com healthcare unit, jumped 56% after its mega debut on the Hong Kong stock exchange on Tuesday. Alibaba rolled out community-based grocery pickup services in two Chinese provinces. JD.com is in discussions to acquire the community grocery e-commerce unit of Meicai.

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China’s e-commerce and retail market offers a fire hose of products, choices, business models, rapidly changing content, and more. Here’s what you need to know about China’s online retail market for the week of Dec. 3 – 9.

JD Health shares surge in Hong Kong debut

JD Health’s long-expected public offering raised $3.5 billion in net proceeds, making it the largest debut on the Hong Kong stock market this year. Share prices on Tuesday closed 56% above the offer price at $110 each.

JD Health said the proceeds will be used for business expansion, research and development, potential investments and acquisitions, and general corporate purposes. The listing followed an $830 million investment from Hillhouse Capital in August, which brought the company’s total funds raised to $1.8 billion. Investor attention toward JD Health highlights a growing market interest in healthcare and biotech industries as a result of the pandemic. (Bloomberg)

Online grocery, the next battlefield

The Covid-19 pandemic boosted China’s grocery delivery market, shifting consumption online. The sector is attracting China’s biggest e-commerce companies thanks to user purchase frequency and relatively inelastic demand.

  • Alibaba has launched Taobao Maicai, an e-commerce service that sells daily products including produce, meats, snacks, liquor, and skincare items. Taobao Meicai is a “community-based” grocery e-commerce service, where users in the same neighborhood order online and collect purchases at a nearby pick-up point or join in on group buys. Operated by Alibaba’s online-offline retail unit Freshippo, the service now runs in several cities in central China including Wuhan in Hubei province, and Changsha and Zhuzhou in Hunan province. (Ebrun, in Chinese)
  • JD.com may be in discussions to acquire Meijia Maicai, the community-based grocery retailing unit of fresh grocery site Meicai, for no more than $200 million. (Time Weekly, in Chinese)
  • The popularity of grocery e-commerce is pressuring offline retail. “There’s no chance for supermarkets with more than 500 square meters to survive in the future one or two years given the increasing adoption of community-based grocery e-commerce,” Ye Guofu, founder and CEO of Chinese low-cost retailer and variety store chain Miniso, said at China Entrepreneur Summit in Beijing on Sunday. (Hexun, in Chinese)

READ MORE: Covid-19, an opportunity for e-commerce

Tech accessibility

  • Baidu’s artificial intelligence voice assistant Xiaodu is testing a special mode for seniors in response to Beijing’s call to lower the tech barrier for the elderly. (Huanqiu.com, in Chinese)
  • Alibaba, China Braille Library, and Zhejiang University jointly launched a new program with the goal to create a more friendly digital environment for the visually impaired. The project involves building an audio content database planned to contain more than 100 movies, as well as developing language character recognition technology and smart home facilities. (Sina, in Chinese)

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.