Senior Minister of State Sim Ann leads business delegation to China on a retail mission

Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Sim Ann (right) at one of Alibaba’s Hema supermarkets in downtown Shanghai. PHOTO: ENTERPRISE SINGAPORE
The Singapore business delegation, led by Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Sim Ann, visited e-commerce giant Alibaba's Hema supermarket in downtown Shanghai. PHOTO: ENTERPRISE SINGAPORE

SHANGHAI - A Singapore business delegation is visiting cities in the Yangtze River Delta this week to experience first-hand how Chinese retailers are using technology to transform the industry.

The retail mission is led by Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Sim Ann, who is visiting China from April 23 to 27.

Ms Sim, who is also Senior Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth, visited a Hema supermarket run by e-commerce giant Alibaba in downtown Shanghai on Monday (April 23).

Hema is a chain of stores where consumers can visit to buy groceries, and have a meal. Alternatively, they can order groceries to be delivered in 30-minutes from the comfort of their homes if they live within a 3-km radius of the stores.

Shoppers in the store cannot pay cash. Instead, they will have to pay for their purchases using Alipay, Alibaba's mobile payment app.

On Tuesday, Ms Sim visited Starbucks Reserve Roastery, the Seattle-based coffee chain's biggest store in the world, and Raffles City Changning in Shanghai.

Raffles City Changning is part of the CapitaLand's network of malls and it is the newest of its Raffles City-branded developments.

Later on Tuesday, she is scheduled to travel to Hangzhou to visit Ruyicang, an integrated smart warehousing and logistics services platform, by Forchn Group.

Ms Sim will see how businesses in China employ omni-channel strategies, and offer customers experiential shopping. She will also observe how these retailers use technology to settle payments through mobile platforms as well as handle e-commerce logistics and warehousing.

In Hangzhou, the provincial capital of Zhejiang, Ms Sim will also visit Alibaba's headquarters, also known as its Xixi Campus, and other Alibaba ventures including Ant Financial, the fintech arm and HomeTimes, a furniture retail shop.

During her five-day visit, Ms Sim will also call on Zhejiang Governor Yuan Jiajun to reaffirm longstanding and warm relations between Singapore and Zhejiang. Ms Sim will then co-chair the 13th Singapore-Zhejiang Economic and Trade Council meeting in Zhoushan city with Zhejiang Vice Governor Zhu Congjiu on Thursday.

"This trip takes our companies right into the frontier of innovative and high-tech retail concepts in China.

"I hope that seeing these concepts in action will inspire our Singaporean retailers to try new technologies, and make full use of the strategies set out in the Retail Industry Transformation Map to take their businesses to the next level," said Ms Sim in a statement released by the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI).

The business delegation is organised by Enterprise Singapore and it comprises representatives from the retail industry in Singapore.

Ms Sim is accompanied by officials from the MTI, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Enterprise Singapore and National Youth Council.

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