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Walmart China launches blockchain platform to help shoppers track products

By Wang Zhuoqiong | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2019-06-26 14:00
Customers enter a Walmart supermarket in Yichang, Central China's Hubei province, on Feb 18, 2019. [Photo/IC]

Retailer Walmart China launched its first Blockchain Traceability Platform on June 25, allowing consumers to acquire more knowledge on products -- from sources, logistics and testing results -- and empowering suppliers to better safeguard food safety.

The first batch of 23 products underwent testing and was introduced into the platform. The company will scale up to more than 100 merchandises by the second half of this year, covering over 10 categories, including fresh meat, vegetable, seafood and its self-developed private brands.

By the end of 2020, Walmart China's traceability system will be able to track about half of the total packaged fresh meat, 40 percent of packaged vegetables and 12.5 percent of seafood.

The blockchain traceability system was developed by PwC and VeChain. By scanning the products, consumers can acquire large amount of information, which cannot be tampered with once the data are written.

Walmart China launches Blockchain Traceability Platform. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

To better implement the blockchain tracking platform requires all related sectors to work together. Pei Liang, president of the China Chain-Store and Franchised Association, said he hopes more retailers can learn and be empowered by such new technologies – the application of blockchain – to build a safety net for consumers in more convenient methods.

Curtis Liu, chief merchandizing officer of Wamart China Stores, said blockchain technology will facilitate Walmart become a leader in traceability management in retail industry, with priority on high-risk and high-attention merchandises.

Liu said the platform will be implemented nationwide by collaborating with willing suppliers and aims to further connect with government-related platforms and similar tracking platforms in the future.

Daniel Shih, chief corporate affairs officer of Walmart China, said Walmart uses digital methods to improve efficiency and transparency and continues to invest in improving supply chains.

He said the company trained about 100,000 employees and suppliers to use the traceability platform and one of the objectives was not to add costs for enterprises or consumers using the system.

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