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WeChat Pay enters UK

Han Yang

Consultant, Market Insights China Lead

Retail 18.12.2017 / 17:04

WeChat Pay Homepage full

Since November, 2017, Chinese visitors have had the option to purchase goods with the mobile payment platform WeChat Pay at Camden Market in London.

London's Camden Market, which has been at the heart of London's punk scene since the 1970s, has developed into one of the capital's busiest tourist attractions. It draws many people every week to its maze of clothing shops, tattoo and piercing parlours and food stands.

The number of Chinese visitors to Camden has been increasing. In September 2016, 5% of its visitors were Chinese. The proportion doubled to 10 percent in March.

WeChat has worked with SafeCharge, a British payment technology company, to make WeChat Pay available at point-of-sale locations in the UK for the first time.

According to Craig Jacoby, head of retail payments at Safe-Charge, WeChat Pay will soon be available at other shopping destinations in London, and the service is also launching at six large retailers in Paris as WeChat moves forward with its international expansion.

During the next four months, SafeCharge will offer over 1,000 Camden Market vendors with a software update that enables in-store payment terminals to generate QR codes and perform WeChat Pay transactions.

JD.com to build drone airports to expand logistics services

Liu Qiangdong, founder and CEO of JD.com, has announced plans to build 185 drone airports in Sichuan Province so as to expand logistics services in rural areas.

Liu made the statement as part of a speech at the World Internet Conference in Wuzhen, Zhejiang Province, on December 4, 2017.

According to Liu, owing to the high logistics cost, agricultural products are sold at higher prices in cities. However, industrial products are sold at higher prices in remote rural areas.

Liu also mentioned that JD.com is already using a big network of drones in Shanxi and Sichuan provinces, and is going to employ drones to deliver agricultural products from rural areas in Sichuan to cities across the country within 24 hours, cutting the logistics expenses in rural areas by 50 to 70%.

This is not Liu's first move aimed at fighting poverty. On November 28, 2017, the Internet entrepreneur was inaugurated as honorary chief of Pingshitou Village in Fuping County, Hebei Province, one of the most impoverished areas in the region.

In a post on his microblog, Liu has set a target to have a tenfold increase in the village's average household income within the next five years. By that time, all the villagers will have incomes higher than poverty level.

JD Finance stepping up Big Data efforts

JD Finance, the financial subsidiary of China's e-Commerce giant JD.com Inc, is speeding up efforts to leverage its big data, cloud computing and artificial intelligence resources to better serve financial institutions.

According to Liu Qiangdong, founder and CEO of JD.com, AI is a technology and a way of thinking, as well as a major force to make innovations in different industries in the next 20 years, adding that the financial sector is a major field where AI can play a significant role.

JD Finance is defined as a partner rather than a “subverter” to the financial institutions.

Thanks to AI, the ratio of bad loans and capital loss rate is about 50% lower than the industry average.

Earlier in November, JD Finance launched an enterprise-level cloud services platform with AI technologies, such as facial recognition and graph calculation, to enhance work efficiency for financial institutions.

Cao Peng, vice-president of JD Finance and general manager of its tech research and development department, said the cloud-based service would empower financial institutions with enhanced precision marketing and risk management capabilities.

Germany’s Metro pulls plug on China convenience store business

Recently, German retail and wholesale giant Metro, has closed all its convenience stores in China less than two years since their opening, citing “dramatic changes” in the business environment, including increasing rents in major cities.

According to a company statement, its four MyMart stores in Shanghai, which sold fresh and cooked food, together with snacks and goods under Metro’s own Aka brand at mid to high-end commercial districts in Shanghai, were closed at the end of September.

Due to dramatic changes in the market, such as the quick increase in property prices in many cities in China, the management of Metro China has made the decision to suspend its efforts in the convenience store business.

However, it will not influence Metro China’s dedication to its development in China in the long run. Metro said that it would continue to expand sales network in China and keep focusing on O2O stores, food service delivery, welfare and gifting and other e-commerce channels.

Metro announced its move into the convenience store business in April 2016, with the first two Shanghai stores opening a month later.

Source: Kantar Retail

Editor's notes

* This article is based on Kantar Retail China Insight team's weekly newsletter (December 15). If you would like to receive Kantar Retail Newsletter, please send your email address to Bill.Li@kantarretail.com .

* The Chinese and English version of this newsletter do not containt the same content.

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