SOURCE / COMPANIES
Alibaba’s fresh-food chain to open 10 warehouse units in 2021 amid rising competition
Published: Jun 16, 2021 09:43 PM
The first Freshippo X membership store in Beijing will be opened on Friday. Photo: Courtesy of Freshippo

The first Freshippo X membership store in Beijing will be opened on Friday. Photo: Courtesy of Freshippo



Freshippo, Alibaba's fresh-food chain, announced plans to open 10 members-only warehouse supermarkets in China by the end of the year, with the first to open in Beijing on Friday. 

The move comes as foreign supermarket chains vie for Chinese consumers in the post-COVID-19 era, prompting Chinese store operators to open members-only warehouses for a new wave of more demanding shoppers.

A new Freshippo X membership store will sit in Beijing's Daxing district. The 17,000-square-meter store will feature fresh seafood from many countries around the world. 

The first Freshippo X membership store in Beijing will be opened on Friday. Photo: Courtesy of Freshippo

The first Freshippo X membership store in Beijing will be opened on Friday. Photo: Courtesy of Freshippo



"Customers will see fresh seafood, which is popular among people in northern China. The taste of fresh fish is totally different from frozen products," Song Jianzhou, head of the Beijing store, told reporters on Wednesday. 

Although COVID-19 has been found on packages of imported seafood products across China multiple times, Freshippo told the Global Times on Wednesday that there's no current impact on its seafood imports as it has stepped up review and inspection of its supply chain. 

The first Freshippo X membership store in Beijing will be opened on Friday. Photo: Courtesy of Freshippo

The first Freshippo X membership store in Beijing will be opened on Friday. Photo: Courtesy of Freshippo



The warehouse supermarkets mainly purchase products from the US, Canada, South America, Australia and Southeast Asia. 

In recent years, more and more foreign supermarket chains have entered the Chinese market. 

The first physical store of US retail giant Costco in Shanghai drew thousands of people on its opening day in 2019. Walmart Inc also plans to expand its members-only warehouse chain, Sam's Club, to 100 stores in China in the next eight years. 

"When China's physical retail industry is facing pressure, more opportunities also appear," said Cai Ronghong, who is in charge of Freshippo X membership stores. 

"I'd prefer to use consumption stratification instead of upgrading to look at the industry. In recent years, Chinese consumers have been surrounded by online offerings, leaving some medium- to high-end consumers dissatisfied with the cheap and efficient shopping mode," he said. 

"They want to gain a sense of worth and a sense of ceremony during shopping," which brings opportunities for members-only warehouse supermarkets, he added.

According to Boston Consulting Group, China has around 67 million medium- to high-end consumers, who are the target buyers for such supermarkets. 

The first Freshippo X membership store in Beijing will be opened on Friday. Photo: Courtesy of Freshippo

The first Freshippo X membership store in Beijing will be opened on Friday. Photo: Courtesy of Freshippo






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