Bail­ian Group part­ners IBM

China Daily (Canada) - - SHANGHAI - By XU JUNQIAN in Shang­hai


Bail­ian Group, China’s largest re­tailer by sales, will be part­ner­ing Amer­i­can tech­nol­ogy and con­sult­ing cor­po­ra­tion IBM to launch its first In­ter­net re­search cen­ter in Shang­hai, an­nounced the two par­ties on March 24.

The cen­ter will be housed within the his­tor­i­cal Si­hang Ware­house, the site that Chi­nese sol­diers used as a strong­hold to re­pel Ja­panese forces dur­ing the Bat­tle of Shang­hai, and will oc­cupy 22,000 square me­ters.

The two main func­tions of the cen­ter will be to help the Shang­hai-based re­tail giant bet­ter tap into the e- com­merce busi­ness as well as to pro­vide an ideal en­vi­ron­ment for start-ups or “mak­ers”. The lat­ter refers al­low cus­tomers to see how agri­cul­tural prod­ucts are har­vested in New Zealand, and pro­vide or­der fore­casts for their sup­pli­ers.

“With the es­tab­lish­ment of the new cen­ter and the help of tech­nol­ogy, we hope Bail­ian could cre­ate a brand new and in­di­vid­u­al­ized shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ence that pushes back the bound­aries of space and time,” said Ye Yong­ming, chair­man of Bail­ian Group.

Founded in 2003, the sta­te­owned Bail­ian Group is a con­glom­er­ate com­pris­ing more than 6,000 depart­ment stores, re­tail chains and su­per­mar­kets in China. It has a reg­is­tered cap­i­tal of 1 bil­lion yuan ($153.6 mil­lion).

De­spite its ex­pan­sive sales net­work and rich his­tory in China, the re­tailer has been strug­gling to achieve growth in re­cent years as con­sumers have been flock­ing to e-com­merce sites such as Alibaba and

In 2013, Bail­ian made the For­tune Global 500 list for the first time af­ter con­sol­i­dat­ing $25.2 bil­lion in an­nual rev­enues. It was also the first Shang­hai re­tailer in his­tory to be listed. How­ever, in 2014, the group be­came the only Chi­nese com­pany on the list that was booted out.

“In 2015, Shang­hai recorded 1 tril­lion yuan worth of re­tail sales in con­sumer goods, be­com­ing one of the first two cities in China to reach the bench­mark, af­ter Bei­jing. How­ever, the re­tail busi­ness is also fac­ing an un­prece­dented chal­lenge and it’s more than ur­gent for re­tail­ers to em­brace the In­ter­net now,” said Shang Yuy­ing, di­rec­tor of Shang­hai Mu­nic­i­pal Com­mis­sion of Com­merce.

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