A call for closer collaborations at retail summit

Ding Yining
City officials pledged further efforts to build a consumption center with consistent measures to allow all kinds of players to connect with each other.
Ding Yining

Shanghai officials pledged further efforts to build a consumption center with consistent measures to allow all kinds of players to connect with each other at the China International Retail Innovation Summit held yesterday and today.

Industry executives pointed out drawbacks of current retail models and called for tighter collaboration. 

"We support the establishment and growth of new retail formats in the Pudong New Area, as well as other types of leisure activities such as entertainment, hospitality and cultural events to link more closely with retail facilities to attract capital investment and burgeoning brands," said Shanghai Vice Mayor Zong Ming. 

The city's online retail sales and the user base of e-commerce livestreaming services are the highest in the country, Zong added. 

In the first quarter, the city's retail sales of consumer goods amounted to 456 billion yuan (US$70.2), an increase of 48.9 percent over the same period last year. 

Pei Liang, president of the China Chain Store & Franchise Association, said the sustainability and profitability of new retail models should be further evaluated to ensure their effectiveness in the future. 

Yang Chao, deputy director of the Pudong New Area, said Pudong is set to welcome a number of landmark business centers with specialty features and attractions that appeal to shoppers' evolving needs. 

Current distribution and retail operation models have prevented further collaboration under new community-based shopping formats, Pei said, and retailers should work with brand owners to tackle this new challenge. 

He added that retailers' digital infrastructures played a positive role in compensating for the loss of offline foot traffic last year amid the pandemic, and new digital solutions brought innovative value with their ability to drive business-format transformations. 

Shanghai already has a rich commercial environment and solid foundation in terms of artificial intelligence, which could fuel upgrades and renovations of existing retail outlets, according to industry watchers. 

He Jianhui, vice president of Shanghai-based Dada Group, pointed out its connectivity with JD's location-based, on-demand service that provides online shoppers with easier access to supermarket chains and retailers.  

JD holds a majority stake in Dada Group, and is stepping up efforts in the offline courier-delivery business to include more grocery and home-care items. 

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