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China’s largest ecommerce retailer, Alibaba, has recently announced a plan to partner with Chinese retail chain Bailian Group. This will be the next step in implementing Alibaba’s online-to-offline strategy.

Bailian, headquartered in Shanghai, is one of China’s largest retail chains. It owns over 4,700 stores across 200 cities and regions in China.

The retail giants will pool resources to connect online shopping with brick and mortar sales, and attempt to deliver more adequate customer service. As technology improves and ecommerce grows, Alibaba and Bailian seek to optimize the O2O experience for consumers and modernize the physical shopping experience.

Channel store operations will undergo changes to allow real time solutions at physical locations. Facial recognition software, data driven sales and customer insights are hoped to improve merchandise selections and lower prices.  

Alibaba will also partner with Bailian to introduce its payment method, Alipay, into physical locations. Bailian will reciprocate be integrating its tools, Safepass and the Balian OK card, with Alipay.

Additionally, Alibaba will introduce its online payment service Alipay to Balian’s stores; while Bailian payment tools Safepass and Balian OK card will be integrated with Alipay.

Bailian and Alibaba will also join to co-develop a logistics system, improving the efficiency of product shipping and delivery.

Alibaba has been taking steps to enter the physical retail market. Recently, the company bought a 20% stake in retailer Suning. It also recently bought Chinese mall retailer Intime, acquiring it for $2.6B USD. Alibaba became a publicly traded company in 2014.

Bailian Group, Ltd. Is a state owned group. Its subsidiaries operate shopping malls, convenience stores, grocery stores, outlets, big box stores and department stores. It has recently announced plans to add movie theaters to its portfolio.

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