With a new store opening in Suzhou next week, Alibaba Group will be operating 22 Hema supermarkets across China by year’s end. This number is expected to swell dramatically over the next five years, according to Inside Retail Asia, with the e-commerce giant planning to open 2,000 Hema branches by 2022.
The move comes as Alibaba looks to further integrate its online empire with offline channels, in a bid to grow consumer confidence and shape the future of digital retail.
“Hema’s goal is to broaden the new retail model by working with retail partners like Sanjiang Shopping Club and Xingli Department Store,” said Hema CEO Hou Yi. “As our model becomes more established, it can be shared with other traditional retailers to help them transform in the digital age.”
Hema’s customers can either shop in store or order groceries for home delivery via the Hema mobile app.
According to Inside Retail Asia, around half of Hema’s sales take place in store.