Latest digitalization efforts on show at Exposition on China Indigenous Brands

Ding Yining
Shanghai-based companies are at the forefront of digitalization efforts as they lay the foundation for the digital infrastructure of a megacity.
Ding Yining

Shanghai-based companies are at the forefront of digitalization efforts as they actively respond to the city's action plan to lay the foundation for the digital infrastructure of a megacity. 

Shanghai-headquartered ZKH Industrial Supply Co has been one of the forerunners to drive digitalization trends in the industrial products supply chain. 

ZKH is among a dozen Chinese brands showcasing the latest digitalization efforts of home-grown economics and their technology know-how at the Exposition on China Indigenous Brands at the Shanghai Exhibition Center starting Monday. 

Its integrated solution for industrial goods procurement, digital tools and smart service platform is showcased at the exposition.

A vehicle for staging roadshows for the company's latest supply chain solutions is also present at the exhibition hall. 

There's been an increasing emphasis on the digitalization of industrial procurement process and at state-backed energy and manufacturing companies, as China calls for more application of innovative solutions in the industrial production and operation process, driving demand for end-to-end solution providers like ZKH. 

The company currently operates 11 warehouse facilities and 70-plus service centers around the country to offer on-demand delivery of long-tail products and on-site service for manufacturers.  

"We aim to provide our solutions and logistics capabilities to smaller players to help them streamline procurement processes, thus making the whole business process more efficient," Chairman and CEO Chen Long said. 

It has started out as a distributor for industrial products including adhesives, lubricants and equipment, and expanded its operations to include maintenance, repair, and operations solutions through the integration of e-commerce channels. 

It has also set up its own production facility for maintenance, repair and operations merchandise under the brand Andanda to offer quality products at more affordable prices.  

The rise of domestic brands and the prevalence of consumer-facing Internet services has boosted the adoption of digitalization in the industrial sector, he also noted. 

"We have been focusing on operations in our headquarters in Qingpu District thanks to convenience of transportation to neighboring provinces and overall good business environment in Shanghai," Chen added. 

Domestic tech portal 36Kr estimated there's only 1 percent penetration rate of online procurement of industrial goods in China, with the market size expected to grow at an average compound annual growth rate of 53 percent to reach 1 trillion yuan by 2023. 

Last October, ZKH completed the latest financing round of US$315 million led by private equity firm YF Capital, with State-owned China Structural Reform Fund Co Ltd and CIC International Ltd  the joint lead investors as well as existing investors including Tiger Management LLC, Tencent Holdings Ltd, MatrixPartners China Management Ltd and Legend Capital Co. 

As the hospitality industry gradually recovers from the pandemic, Shanghai-headquartered Huazhu Group is heading up  digitalization efforts to upgrade its customer service and enhance operation efficiency. 

Huazhu Group's self-service check-in kiosk and room service robots are also highlights at the exhibition. 

At 492 Huazhu Group hotels in Shanghai, a total of 697 self-service kiosks are deployed and more than 84 percent of visitors have used the service. All its Hanting hotels would be upgraded with a new version of the self-service system in 2022. 

During the Labor Day holiday, more than 1.1 million customers have used the self-service system nationwide. 

"We will combine our digitalization efforts with customer experience to offer a wholistic solution," said Liu Xinxin, Chief Digital Officer of Huazhu Group and CEO of Legacy Huazhu. 

Digitalization will help Chinese service providers become a leading player and further strengthen China's economic development, she commented. 

Digital tools are applied not only to enhance customer service, but also the hotelier's daily operations and customer management platform. 

It's also empowering other hoteliers with digital solutions to help the industry transform under the digital era. 

Special Reports