State-owned Enterprises Contributing to the Community
State- owned enterprises have thrived in communities, creating new models, improving convenient services, and bringing lowpriced products with better quality to community residents.
Grandma Wang with his grandson goes shopping in Zhongguancun, picking out some long eggplants. The shop assistant says that bell peppers are cheap that day, plump and fresh, and Wang quickly wheels the trolley to the vegetable section. Since the opening of SOIS Food Fresh Food Haizhong Flagship Store at Zhongguancun South Road, the surrounding residents, including Grandma Wang and her neighbours, have frequently visited the market. In the morning, the senior citizens come here for fresh fruits and vegetables, steamed buns and baked pancakes; in the evening, they grab discounted goods.
After shopping in the market, Grandma Wang would always buy some tasty bread and cakes for her grandson at Master Liang (a bakery). Nearby is the Huguosi Noshery. According to Grandma Wang, the first Huguosi Noshery in Haidian District was opened near her house and her family often go there for a snack. She says, “In the past we could only buy groceries at the farmer’s market. The environment was poor and the fruits and vegetables were varied in quality. But this year, it was developed into a fresh market,
together with a top- class bakery and Beijing style snack store. All these ensure a satisfactory shopping environment and quality food.”
Over the past two years, many Beijingers have felt the same as Grandma Wang—vegetables are cheaper; the shopping environment is improved; people can even enjoy door-to-door delivery service. This convenience and benefit of the people all owe to the Action Plan for Improving Consumer Services in Beijing (the Action Plan) released by Beijing Municipal Government in July, 2015. Since the Action Plan was issued, improvements have been made in standardising commercial service facilities, and developing chain stores as well as coverage expansion among communities. By the end of this June, 3,140 new and standard commercial service sites such as vegetable retail stores, convenience stores and breakfast stores have been established; the coverage rate of basic commercial service facilities in urban communities reached 86.8 percent, and its coverage rate in Beijing’s urban communities in six central districts reached 100 percent. State-owned enterprises shoulder social responsibility and thrive into communities. With market demand as the focus, these enterprises create new models, enrich convenient services, and bring lowpriced products with better quality to residents at a higher speed.
As usual, SOIS Food Fresh Food Haizhong Flagship Store ushers in its first peak of shopping at 10 a.m.—vegetables, cooked food, rice and dairy sections are all crowded with customers.
The first sight caught once you step into the market is the “SOIS Food O2O Experience Zone,” with rice as its main product. At the conspicuous spot of the zone is daohuaxiang rice, launched by Sunlon Group and Wuchang Supply and Marketing Cooperative, and enjoying large popularity among citizens. The rice is irrigated with reservoir water and then processed. Authentic Wuchang rice is affordable, with 108 yuan per 10 kilograms. To meet different consumer demands, the market also sells Sunlon’s own “Shuanghe Farm Rice,” which is cheaper, at 48 yuan per 10 kilograms.
In the maple food section, customers pick out sushi, pickles, noodles, baked pancakes, green bean cakes and peanut crisps. Close by is the cooked meat and raw meat section. Both cooked and raw meats come in renowned brands.
With freshness as the focus, the market boasts a large fruit and vegetable section. This section provides various vegetables from both South and North China including potatoes, onions, radishes, ginger, green peppers, garlic and eggplants, all categorised as organic, green and pollution-free. Some of them are supplied by Sunlon and some are introduced. Every evening, fruits and vegetables are discounted so as to sell out all of its products and ensure freshness.
Sunlon’s dairy products are a feature of the market, with only Sanyuan milk and imported milk on sale. Sanyuan milk, with its standard higher than the European Union’s, is better than imported milk. Its good quality should contribute to Sunlon’s scale cow farm and the in-time transport of fresh milk into the cold chain within half an hour. In the freezer sectionare Sunlon’s Baxy ice cream and the first organic brand Sunlon Bainianliyuan’s Chai Chicken and You Chicken.
“SOIS Food Fresh Food Haizhong Flagship Store was previously a farmer’s market, and then developed by Sunlon into a boutique market specialising in fresh goods,” says Fu Yibin, secretary of Beijing Sunlon Food Business Centre and general manager of Beijing Sunlon Logistics Company Limited. As the citizens’ supplier of milk, rice and vegetables, Sunlon Group was established in April, 2009. Reorganised from Beijing Sanyuan Group Company Limited, Beijing Huadu Group Company Limited and Beijing Dafa Livestock Product Company, Sunlon Group occupies great advantages among the industry in breeding livestock, cultivation, food processing, biopharmaceuticals and logistics, and boasts an industrial chain. Fu adds, “The previous farmer’s market covered an area of 2,300 square metres, had over 700 shops and over 200 practitioners. After reconstruction, the new market takes up an area of 1,500 square metres, of which 400 is in a ground
area, and 1,000 is in an underground area. It provides more than 4,000 kinds of products, covering the majority of the citizens’ daily life. What makes our market different from others is the fresh product section. It accounts for 70 percent of the whole market area.”
According to research of Beijing Survey Office under National Bureau of Statistics of China, the five measures— regulating illegal roadside business stalls and activities, cleaning up the holes in the wall, tearing down unauthorised structures and regulating group rent— enjoy the support among citizens respectively of 98.7 percent, 99 percent, 97.5 percent, 99 percent and 97.7 percent. Though some community stores are gone, the municipal government has taken corresponding measures for the Beijing citizens affected.
Many worried about where they could buy groceries after the farmer’s market was pulled down. But with the settling of “SOIS Food Fresh Food,” they are reassured and recognise efforts made. As to the market’s management philosophy, Fu Yibin says that Sunlon strives to create a model integrating fresh goods with famous snack brands. In the market, most products including milk, chicken, pork and vegetables are supplied by Sunlon, and others are introduced from mature brands such as Ershang, Shunxin and Kerqchin. Sunlon’s high standard and the scale bases and cooperatives ensure quality, safety, freshness and affordability of its products. Also, with Internet Plus, it is convenient for customers to purchase via Sunlon App and Soisfood.com and Meituan, a third-party platform.
As a State- owned enterprise, Sunlon spares no effort to bring convenience. Apart from “SOIS Food Fresh Food,” it also launched Huguosi Noshery and Master Liang, enabling neighbouring citizens to sense that Beijing offers better service and greater convenience.
“Before we opened, people came here every day, asking when the store would be transformed into a business. They must be tempted by our snacks,” says Li Yong, owner of the Huguosi Noshery at Zhongguancun. “There were no stores of Huguosi across all of Haidian District. To satisfy resident’s demand, particularly for breakfast, Haidian District Commission of Commerce helped Sunlon get in contact with Huguosi snack, and then here we are. We provide over 100 sorts of food such as baked wheaten cake with sugar, marinated meat in baked bun, fermented bean drink and so on, and 70 of them are for breakfast. All of the snacks are in the Beijing style and pretty cheap. There are mostly old Beijingers and seniors nearby. We serve customers within a fivekilometre radius.”
If Huguosi Noshery is a place to savour Chinese cuisine, then Master Liang is a spot to experience the western life. Due to its location at Zhongguancun Campus of University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, there are many people living in the western style. Unlike the grey-tiled and red-lacquered Huguosi Noshery with carved beams and painted rafters, Master Liang presents people with tranquillity and elegance, like in a western cafe, with its glass wall, an L-shaped counter, small booths and a clean and bright kitchen. In the bakery, every now and then, customers order some drinks and desserts and then sit in the booth chatting with friends.
According to Zhang Qi, the owner of Master Liang, there are 80 kinds of bread in the bakery. Among them, the star product baked nine-layer cheese sells really well, with fresh liquid cheese and cheese cubes mixed, and its salty flavour suited to a northern Chinese taste. The snow-white cream stick is also
a featured product stuffed with cream and wrapped in chestnut cake crumbs. It is classy but not expensive, priced at 12 yuan each. Another one, chocolate bread, is favoured by younger people because of its strong chocolate flavour. It’s also lowfat, low-sugar, oil-free and additive-free. Zhang says, “We started soft opening in June and the market reacted pretty well. Customers are always our focus. Even the shop assistants are patient with seniors and chat with them. What we do is serve nearby customers.”
As Sunlon’s third chain store, SOIS Food Fresh Food Haizhong Flagship Store has learned a lot from the trials of stores in Chaoyang District’s Wangjin area and Tongzhou District’s Beiyuan Street. It created a new model which transfers Sunlon’s strength into the convenience for community residents’ life. As the largest agricultural enterprise, Sunlon Group highlights the importance of state- owned enterprises going into communities and plans to launch 200 midsized fresh markets in three years in a bid to facilitate the daily life of citizens.
Yili Store near Caoqiao Subway Station is the 128th time-honoured brand. In the store, aside from the general products such as Arctic Ocean soda, ice cream, Yili bread and chocolates, on the shelf near the doorway are Yili branded cooked wheaten food. Sandwiches, cakes, fruits and vegetables as well as over 30 cooked meats are in the freezer section. In the food incubator beside the cashier are steaming baozi (steamed stuffed bun). More than 700 products are provided at Yili.
Ma Chunying, one of Yili’s general managers, says, “Nowadays, citizens are demanding more. They hope they can buy daily necessities with convenience. So we put these products on sale, and the price is relevantly cheaper. We also have a microwave oven for customers to use. Yili chain stores plan to add nearly 100 kinds of food in 2017 in an effort to bring customers more convenience and a cheaper price.” Yili has 128 stores altogether, all of which are community stores well placed for popularising convenience services. The store provides baozi made by hand and prepares to add bento for elder customers, shoring up its weak spot in home-based care for the aged. This year, Beijing Yiqing Food Group plans an increase of 20 percent in Yili chain stores so as to reach out to more communities.
The Yili chain store sells are customeroriented. The store strives to provide customers with delicious and safe food and boasts strict testing procedures. Yiqing Food Group converted its office space at the first floor into a quality control centre, increasing monitoring efforts. The new equipment can more carefully test for clenbuterol, antibiotics, additive dosages, nitrite and bacterial colony as well as protein, ensuring food safety.
As a time-honoured brand, Yili has also entered the Internet Plus era. Up to now, Yili has cooperated JD Daojia so that residents can just place an order with Yili on the platform of JD Daojia and then enjoy the door-to- door delivery service. Chen Lin, vice general manager of Beijing Yiqing Food Group, states that as early as the time when Arctic Ocean soda returned to the market, Yili started to develop e- commerce and put its products on a dozen of platforms including Tmall.com, JD, and Yiaodian. Apart from these key platforms, it also exercises online retail via Wechat business. He also discloses that Yili invests 5,000,000 yuan in its own e- commerce service system, applying the business model— online to offline—to its products. To this end, customers can put an order online and pick up the products at the 128 chain stores or wait for delivery service. He says, “We encourage more customers to pick up in store to enjoy VIP service. All the products are also well prepared and adequately supplied. They can just scan the QR code and then take their products away without queuing.”
To satisfy customer’s taste, Yili stores exercise strict selection over its products. Ma Chunying says to take baozi as an example, the most chosen from multiple samples after taste tests. Fresh products like fruits and vegetables are packed delicately, enjoying popularity among young people and the elderly, receiving great response from the market with Yili’s
convenience services. Yili adopts a strategy of differentiation and continue to focus on consumer demand and make adjustments, bringing Yili’s brand closer to customers.
As society grows older, caring for the elderly becomes a chore. Yiqing Food Group as a major State- owned enterprise also wants to bear social responsibility. In the dining hall headquarters of Yiqing Food Group in Daxing, various dishes and drinks are prepared for sampling. Testers are employees from Yiqing Food Group. While tasting the food they also make suggestions and beside them are personnel jotting down notes. The food undergoes several tests and improvements before being picked to be presented in Yili’s chain stores. They can be heated in microwave ovens.
“Filial piety is the foundation of all virtues. Maybe some refuse to run a business for the elderly, but we at Yili have a responsibility. Our business is stretching into a sector of caring for elders,” says Ma Chunying. “We want to put tables and chairs here for the elderly so that they can eat hot food right here in the store. It’s not easy, but we try. To bolster weak spots in community pensions, our group has made a lot of efforts.”
Yili brings in new ideas in setting up its new store—if there is any suitable house with street frontage in the community, Yili will open a store there. In the future, small stores with 20 to 30 square metres will sell cooked food to suit people’s daily needs, while large stores offer more convenient goods and services.
With improvements in vegetable retail, traditional farmer’s market is being replaced under the background of a standardised “vegetable basket” project. Vegetable chain stores in communities and supermarkets exercise unified purchasing, delivery and labeling in to provide a reassuring shopping environment. Xinfadi Agricultural Products Wholesale Market is speeding up the establishment of Xinfadi vegetable delivery service and Xinfadi vegetable retail terminals. The Xinfadi “vegetable basket” brings direct chain sales in communities. As a major project in upgrading Xinfadi Market, it offers convenience as well as healthy vegetables. As early as 2008, to facilitate needs of residents, Xinfadi launched projects of setting up convenience vegetable shops and community delivery service.
The Xinfadi Community Vegetable Store on Jiaomen North Road is one of the new community chain vegetable stores Xinfadi established before the last Spring Festival. The store expands functions to some 60,000 residents in seven nearby
communities, receiving 2,000 customers a day. It covers an area of more than 100 square metres, and on the shelves are neatly placed hundreds of fresh fruits, vegetables and other non-staple food. The director and several assistants work from 7 a.m. till 10 at night, and provide delivery service for those with difficulty walking. Such convenience services with cheap and fresh vegetables available at doors are recognised immediately by community residents.
The store’s vegetables are 1020 percent cheaper than those in nearby morning vegetable markets or supermarkets. Apart from this, it supplies bargains on a monthly irregular basis. It also has two conveniences highly praised by nearby residents: free delivery service for customers within two kilometres as well as a 15-minute walk; the other is Seniors Card payment for Beijing citizens above 65 years old. At the Xinfadi store, people can buy vegetables at any time as it meets relevant needs of some dual-income families, facilitating people’s life.
As one of many fruit and vegetable suppliers in Beijing, Xinfadi covers 80 percent of its related supply in Beijing. More than 30,000 tons of fresh fruits and vegetables on average are distributed to secondary wholesale markets, then onto supermarkets or vegetable markets. Xinfadi Market plays a vital role in bringing more diverse foods to Beijing. By virtue of its rich product resources, producers and channels, Xinfadi establishes convenience vegetable stores and delivery service, and contributes to fresh chain supermarkets. The community convenience vegetable store, as a major project in upgrading Beijing Xinfadi Market, directly supplies hundreds of fruits and vegetables to community residents without any intermediate link, cutting both in distribution cost and time. The director of the store says that in the next three years the vegetable direct-sale store will fully interact with the vegetable bases and operations, combining the Internet with an actual store.
On rainy days when the citizens are worried about where to buy vegetables, Xinfadi’s 16 vegetable delivery vehicles are always ready to serve them. If in extreme weather circumstances, the vehicles can transport vegetables to the communities, ensuring sufficient supply and stable price of vegetables at each terminal sales outlet.
Vegetable delivery on rainy days is one of the practical emergency preparedness plans Xinfadi Market targeted during flood season. The “vegetable basket” emergency team includes 16 delivery vehicles marked with characters reading “emergency safeguard.” Usually, the vehicles are parked in the market, ready to deliver vegetables for the communities in case of extreme weather conditions like a rainstorm.
Beijing currently has 220 Xinfadi vegetable direct- sale stores, and 135 delivery vehicles, with the “vegetable basket” service benefitting nearly 700 communities. This year, Xinfadi schedules to build 80 new stores and reach 300 by the end of this year. Among the stores, some will be designed to provide laundry services, hairdressing, express collecting, home appliance repair and charges collecting.
In Beijing’s campaign of decentralisation and regulation, in the eastern and western urban areas 580 new commercial convenience sites were added by mid-2017, with 160 vegetable retail outlets, 93 convenience stores and 71 breakfast shops. For the rest of the year, Beijing will build and upgrade more than 420 commercial convenience sites, an increase in the number of commercial convenience facilities.
Sunlon Group, Yiqing Food Group and Xinfadi are Beijing’s leading food enterprises, and also the most reassuring to provide residents with diverse, safe and delicious food. Some other State- owned enterprises also joined in the convenience services team and contributed to the communities, including CSF Market and Beijing Ershang Group. Six enterprises funded by Ershang Group, including Dahongmen, Yueshengzhai and Jinghua Tea, had launched 87 chain stores in Beijing’s busy areas and communities at the end of 2016, selling pork, beef and mutton, vegetables, eggs and tea. Dahongmen has mobile sales vehicles in 179 communities in Beijing, mainly selling fresh cold meat. Bearing more social responsibilities, Beijing’s State- owned enterprises are trying their best to create a better community life for Beijingers.
The SOIS Food Fresh Food Supermarket
SOIS Food Fresh Food has cooperated with the Meituan app so that customers can purchase goods at home.
Packaged chicken sold at SOIS Food Fresh Food Supermarket
Bread made by Master Liang
The interior of Yili Shop and its selection of Beibingyang (Arctic Ocean) soda