China’s third largest supermarket chain, China Resources Vanguard, will add 2,000 stores to the Alibaba-owned delivery platform Ele.me across 100 Chinese cities, according to an exclusive report by 36Kr.
CR Vanguard’s four categories of stores—hypermarkets, standard supermarkets, boutique supermarkets, and convenience stores—are included in the Ele.me partnership.
The grocery giant owns a number of brands across these categories, including its namesake CR Vanguard stores, VanGo convenience stores, V+, Tesco Express, the upmarket stores blt and Ole’, as well as others.
In 2017, the company counted 3,162 store locations generating RMB 103.6 billion (USD 15 billion) in sales. It currently has a footprint in 242 cities across 29 regions in China.
This partnership can be traced back to an earlier tie-up between Ele.me and Suguo, a large supermarket chain that is chiefly in China’s eastern and central provinces. CR Vanguard holds an 85% stake in Suguo.
Suguo has been one of the fastest expanding brands on Ele.me. In the past three months, the chain’s online transactions have grown by more than 60%, and orders in China’s third- and fourth-tier cities increased by 80 times.
Interestingly, CR Vanguard also has a presence on Meituan and Jingdong, with more than 1,000 shops listed on the latter’s home delivery platform.
By partnering with Ele.me, CR Vanguard has managed to blur the typically divisive line between Tencent and Alibaba, which are both vying for investments in the retail sector. CR Vanguard has yet to take an investment from either of the tech giants, opting for partnerships instead.
36Kr is KrASIA’s parent company.