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) 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 develop and fight back against American bullying. But eventually, he came to see his boss as nothing more than a scam…

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…

China’s service robot market size jumps 44% to $1.8 billion

China’s service robots market hit $1.84 billion according to an article published today on the 21st Century Business Herald. This marks a nearly 44% year-on-year increase, which is higher than the global average rate of change. Traditional sectors are turning to automation to increase efficiency and slash labor costs, key among them the medical and education industries. The food service and…

Suning acquires 37 Wanda stores to speed up new retail expansion

Image credit: Suning.com Chinese online retailer Suning.com has acquired 37 outlets of Wanda Department Store, the department store unit of Chinese conglomerate Wanda Group, chairman Zhang Jindong announced at the company’s Lunar New Year meeting held Tuesday. The company didn't reveal the value of the deal. The 37 stores are mainly located in central business districts or central areas of…