Ecommerce giant Alibaba Group has formed a new partnership with Bailian Group, one of China’s largest retail operators, to explore “new forms of retail opportunities across each other’s ecosystems”.
The two companies plan to share consumer data to integrate offline stores, merchandise, logistics and payment tools to deliver a better overall shopping experience.
Bailian has 4,700 stores across 200 Chinese cities and regions, while Alibaba Group had 443 million active annual buyers as of 31 December 2016.
As part of the deal, the copmanies will co-design bricks-and-mortar stores that merge offline and online shopping and services to improve the buying experience for consumers. They will also combine their membership bases to deliver enhanced customer service through technologies such as geo-location, facial recognition and big-data driven sales and customer management systems, they said.
The tie-up will make online payments app Alipay, which is owned by affiliate company Ant Financial, available at all Bailian stores, while Bailian’s Safepass and OK Card payments services will be integrated with Alipay.
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