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Tuesday, December 8, 2015, 10:43

JD.com to start grocery delivery

By Associated Press

JD.com to start grocery delivery
Workers sort parcels for their customers near the JD.com delivery bikes during the "Singles' Day" online shopping festival, in Beijing, China, Nov 11, 2015. (AP Photo / Andy Wong)

BEIJING - JD.com, China's second largest e-commerce site behind Alibaba, is rolling out a service with a leading Chinese supermarket chain that will allow shoppers to order groceries and fresh food and have them delivered to their homes within two hours.

The service will begin later this month with 30 stores of Yonghui Super Stores Co. Ltd. in the Beijing area. Shoppers will have a choice of 1,000 products ranging from fresh produce and meat to everyday products like shampoo. The company said that it will look to expand the partnership in the months ahead.

The service comes four months after Beijing-based JD.com Inc. announced it would invest 4.31 billion yuan (nearly US$700 million) with Yonghui, for a 10 percent stake in the retailer, which has headquarters in Fuzhou, China. Yonghui, which operates more than 350 stores, is known for its expertise in live seafood and fresh produce.

The move with Yonghui is part of JD.com's overall strategy to team up with local supermarkets and other service providers like nail salons to offer two-hour delivery. Customers can order the products from the company's JD Daojia app or through JD's main smartphone app. JD and others are catering to a shift among young Chinese shoppers to buying a number of different products online and spending less time at big stores.

Delivery is free for orders over 39 yuan (US$6), but JD.com is charging 6 yuan (US 94 cents) for orders under that threshold.

Wendy Liu, JD's general manager of marketing, recently told The Associated Press that most supermarkets in China cater to those shoppers living in a radius of a little over a mile. But JD.com serves shoppers who live within a radius of about two miles.

"Our goal (with supermarkets) is to help them increase their traffic, not to block their traffic," she said. "It is a partnership. For offline, this is a huge market, and it has lots of opportunities."

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