Video: We tested one of China’s unmanned stores and this is what we found

BingoBox is becoming one of the more vivid examples of how fast innovation is moving in China's retail industry along with Alibaba's initiative in unmanned stores powered by their face recognition technology. However, the concept isn't without its own teething problems. A BingoBox in Shanghai was closed for being too hot and when we tried one ourselves, we found the service had some flaws, such…

Beijing to put into service fully unmanned subway line this year

Beijing is expected to put into operation the first domestically-developed unmanned subway line in China this year, according to local media (in Chinese). The Yanfang Line (北京地铁燕房线) will be part of the capital city's subway construction spree, as authorities said they are pressing ahead with the construction of 20 subway lines stretching around 350 kms this year (in Chinese). The line…

Alibaba experiments with behavior modification

Keep this chicken fed by using the Alibaba ecosystem. (Image credit: Trivium/Kendra Schaefer) Four years ago, in a move designed to explore the viability of new offline sales models, Alibaba ran a little experiment. Two of its financial service offerings, Alipay digital wallet and its onboard credit scoring platform Sesame Credit, cooperated in the launch of two unmanned supermarkets. The…

China voices | Tell-all paints firm as Theranos of autonomous vehicles

(Image credit: Bigstock/Ronedya) A version of this first appeared in our members-only newsletter on June 8, 2019. Become a member and read it first. This week features an anonymous employee playing whistleblower on his former self-driving car startup. This engineer writes that he initially was lured in by a charismatic founder who sold him a story of building a company to help the nation…

Meituan developing fully automated warehouse to power ‘flash delivery’

Meituan's unmanned warehouse. (Image credit: Meituan) Meituan, the Tencent-backed food delivery and lifestyle services platform, is testing a fully automated warehouse for order fulfillment service, it said on Monday. The initiative will help the company optimize delivery times as retailers push forward into smart warehousing, an area of technological development poised for growth in the…

Briefing: Ant Financial planning fintech innovation center in Xiong’an New Area

用奋斗助力数字智能城市建设 - 河北新闻网 What happened: Ant Financial is planning to build a fintech innovation center in the Xiong'an New Area, said Ren Haixia, head of Alibaba's Xiong'an project, though she did not reveal a specific timeline for the launch. The company has rolled out a blockchain-based home rental platform, which is part of the larger plan for the innovation center. An Ant Financial spokesman…

Briefing: JD.com ups alliance with $54 million investment in Xinning Logistics

京东物流3.76亿投新宁物流 计划管控超200万车 - Sina Tech What happened: JD Logistics, the logistics arm of Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com, has invested RMB 376 million (around $54 million) in Xinning Logistics, a supply chain logistics service provider listed on China’s A-stock market that it inked a strategic partnership with in October. The two companies plan to include more than 2 million vehicles in their…

Why JD is tripping up in new retail race

Entrance to a JD unmanned convenience store. (Image credit: Michael Norris) JD, China’s largest retailer and second largest e-commerce company, had a tough 2018. Its stock plunged about 50% on concerns about slow economic growth, rising competition, shrinking profits, and a rape allegation against founder and CEO Richard Liu. Adding insult to injury, Pinduoduo, an e-commerce upstart focused on…

Briefing: JD partners with Rakuten to take its drones to Japan

JD.com’s drones take flight to Japan in partnership with Rakuten - TechCrunch What happened: Chinese online retailer JD.com has announced a partnership with Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten, which will deploy the Chinese e-commerce giant's drone delivery and unmanned vehicle service in Japan. Rakuten has over 20 years of experience with commerce and IT in Japan and launched a drone delivery…

Shenyang aviation base becomes the first in China’s northeast to have 5G

The first 5G-enabled aviation base in northeast China has been launched in Shenyang, the capital of northeastern Chinese province of Liaoning, amid China's push to become the world leader in 5G. According to Chinese media, Shenyang's Faku mixed-use Aviation Base has installed a 5G base station and completed test flights with drones on Tuesday. The base station was built by the Liaoning branch of…