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Fresh food e-commerce booms in China

Xinhua | Updated: 2018-02-05 17:21

BEIJING - Lobsters from Boston, cherries from Chile and organic tomatoes. With a simple click on a mobile phone, fresh food from around the world can be delivered to your doorstep within a couple of hours.

Thanks to the booming development of e-commerce in China, more and more people are turning to fresh food apps for their daily shopping.

Data from consulting firm iResearch shows China's fresh food e-commerce industry grew by 59.7 percent in 2017 to 139.1 billion yuan ($22.1 billion), the People's Daily reported Monday.

Among foods purchased online, fruit is the most frequently bought. Dairy products and vegetables ranked second and third, respectively.

Jiang Nan, a young mother in Shanghai, says buying fresh food online is convenient and time-saving. "But customers cannot see the products in advance so it is hard to guarantee the products are exactly what we want," she told Xinhua.

Fresh food e-commerce developed rapidly in China in 2014 and 2015 but experienced a reshuffle in 2016. However, e-commerce giants Alibaba and JD.com later reinvigorated the market by raising investments in supply chains and logistics.

JD.com also opened its first off-line fresh food supermarket in Beijing in January where customers can either buy in the shop or order on its app. The company said over 10,000 customers visited the 7FRESH supermarket each day during its trial period.

Wang Xiaosong, president of 7FRESH, said it planned to open 1,000 shops across China within the next five years.

According to the report, logistics account for a large part of the cost for fresh food e-commerce businesses, as the foods have short quality guarantee periods and are easily spoiled.

The report found that 30.7 percent of customers hoped to receive their goods within several hours, while 28.8 percent hoped delivery times could be shortened to between 30 minutes and one hour.

In January, the logistics arm of JD.com signed a cooperation agreement with Air China Cargo to try a new business model for the direct purchase and delivery of fresh foods from their production areas.

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