The expansion will bring Beijing’s total stores to 35 in a bid to provide the city’s consumers with greater access to its merged online and offline shopping experience.
The move is part of a strategy by Alibaba to create a “three-kilometer ideal living community” concept, according to Alibaba’s Alizila publication.
The concept, which is a joint collaboration between Alibaba affiliates Hema, Tmall, bike-sharing platform Ofo and mapping and navigation services provider Autonavi, aims to create communities that are empowered by convenient, online-offline services driven by Alibaba.
Yi Hou, chief executive officer of Hema told Alizila: “Opening 30 stores is a commitment we’re making to consumers in Beijing.”
Alibaba also plans to open Hema stores in Fuzhou, Chengdu and Guangzhou this year. The ecommerce giant currently has 25 Hema stores in seven Chinese cities, including 14 in Shanghai, five in Beijing, two in Ningbo, and in Hangzhou, Shenzhen, Suzhou, and Guiyang.
Hema stores are part of Alibaba’s “new retail” strategy, which aims to seamlessly integrate online and offline shopping by enabling consumers to shop, order groceries for home delivery and eat in-store, all via a dedicated Hema app, which is linked to Alipay.