Alibaba has opened 12 new Freshippo supermarkets in eight Chinese cities, including Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. Earlier in June, Freshippo executives met with Australian brand leaders about importing produce to China in preparation for the retailer’s IPO, although no date has been set for the public offering.
Freshippo combines physical and digital commerce in its 300+ stores throughout the country. Customers can order online and get their groceries delivered or visit brick-and-mortar stores known for their fresh produce.
Additionally, Freshippo, known as Hema in China, has opened five new Freshippo Outlets in Shanghai for a total of 68. These stores offer products and services at attractive prices to reach a broader group of consumers.
Freshippo also has taken steps to strengthen its backend operations. In May, the retailer partnered with chefs, agricultural enterprises and universities to expand its pre-cooked food business, which sells an average of more than 1,000 types of pre-cooked food per month. Freshippo also has established strategic partnerships with 13 global retail groups, international brands, global associations and consulting companies in Shanghai and announced plans to set up eight purchasing centers globally.
Grocery has become a retail battleground in China: Alibaba rival JD.com is reportedly planning to spin off its 7Fresh supermarket chain, in combination with online services such as its group buying platform Pinpin, to create an independent company.