French hypermarket chain Carrefour SA opened its first smart retail store on Sunday [20 May 2018] in Shanghai, featuring technologies ranging from facial recognition payment to personalized mobile advertisements backed by internet giant Tencent Holdings Ltd. Named Le Marche, the 4,000-square-meter shop marked the first step the partners have taken to rejuvenate conventional retail with internet-enabled services, four months after a Tencent-led investment plan for the French retailer was announced…Full Article: China Daily May 2018

Key Point

  • Carrefour’s new “smart store” in Shanghai will allow customers to pay by Tencent’s WeChat digital wallet or with their own face via facial recognition software. The CEO of Carrefour China stated that Tencent would assist Carrefour in managing its members.

ChinaAg Comments

  • In January 2018, Carrefour SA announced that Tencent Holdings (HKG:0700) and Yonghui Superstores (SHA:601933) would likely invest in Carrefour China.
  • In December 2017, Yonghui Superstores (SHA:601933) announced it would acquire a 12% stake in Chengdu Hongqi Chain (SHE:002697) for USD 144 million. At the time of the deal, Yonghui had a small presence (~42 stores) in Sichuan Province, while Hongqi had more than 2,700 stores in the province. During the same month, Yonghui Superstores (SHA:601933) announced that Tencent Holdings (HKG:0700) would purchase a 5% stake in Yonghui for CNY 4.2 billion (~USD 636 million). At the same time, Tencent would increase its stake in Yonghui Yunchuang Technology (subsidiary of Yonghui) to 15%.
  • In November 2017, Alibaba Group announced it would invest ~USD 2.8 billion to purchase a 36.16% stake in Sun Art Retail (HKG:6808) by purchasing shares from Taiwan’s Ruentex Group. Once completed, the ownership breakdown of Sun Art Group would be France’s Auchan Retail at 36.18%, China’s Alibaba Group at 36.16% and Ruentex at 4.67%. The partnership between France’s Auchan Retail and Alibaba Group sparked concerns that France’s Carrefour would lose market share in China.
  • In June 2017, Carrefour opened its first Easy Carrefour store outside of Shanghai in Wuxi, Jiangsu Province. Afterwards, Carrefour (in conjunction with UnionPay) launched the “Carrefour Pay” digital payment system.
  • By the end of 2016, Carrefour hopes to have six new distribution centers in mainland China. In addition, Carrefour will open 40 to 50 new convenience stores in Shanghai and 14 “Carrefour Easy” stores. At the same time, Carrefour will expand its online/e-commerce operations from Beijing and Shanghai to Chengdu, Sichuan Province.
  • In August 2016, Sun Art Retail announced it plans to invest ~USD 150 million in e-commerce development over the next two year period.
  • In mid-June 2016, Carrefour planned to open its sixth distribution center in China, as well expand its e-commerce service to Chengdu, Sichuan Province.
  • From January to June 2016, Sun Art Retail (HKG:6808) recorded a 2.7% decline in profits (year-on-year).
  • In April 2016, Carrefour launched its e-commerce service in Beijing.
  • From early 2015 to early 2016, Sun Art Group’s e-commerce sales as a percent of total sales grew from 1% to 5%. As of early 2016, Carrefour had 228 stores in mainland China located across 70 cities.
  • In 2015, Sun Art Group opened 38 new hypermarkets, equating to 409 stores under its operation for that year. As a result of declining profits and increased e-commerce competition, Sun Art plans to lower its annual new store openings rate from 40-50 to 30-40.
  • In December 2015, Carrefour opened a distribution center in Tianjin Municipality. As of late 2015, Carrefour had 232 outlets in over 70 cities in mainland China.
  • In November 2015, Carrefour opened its largest Asian-based supermarket in Beijing, its 20th in the capital region.
  • As of June 2015, Sun Art Retail Group had 388 hypermarkets in China. During the same month, Carrefour launched its e-commerce service in Shanghai.
  • In April 2015, Sun Art Retail Group purchased, Fields China (, an e-commerce grocery website.
  • During the second quarter (April to June) of 2015, Sun Art Retail Group had a 6.9% share of Chinese supermarket sales while China Resources Vanguard had a 6.6% share.
  • In March 2015, Carrefour was testing its “Carrefour Express” convenience store concept in Shanghai. The company also announced it would open 15 new Chinese hypermarkets in 2015. During the same month, Carrefour announced it would develop its online-to-offline (O2O) business and open more convenience stores.
  • In 2014, Carrefour opened 11 new hypermarkets in China, but closed eight. The company also intends to renovate 75 hypermarkets in the future.
  • In March 2014, Tencent Holdings (internet and tech investment firm) purchased a 15% stake in
  • In January 2014, Sun Art Retail launched its e-commerce site FeiNiu (
  • In December 2013, Carrefour had 236 hypermarkets in 73 cities in mainland China and hoped to have stores in 100 cities by 2016.
  • In 2012, China’s hypermarket industry was led by Sun Art Retail Group, whose 273 hypermarkets held a 13.6% market share. Carrefour was the 4th largest (6.9% market share) hypermarket chain in China.
  • In 2010, Sun Art Retail Group, a JV between Taiwan’s Ruentex Group and French retailer Groupe Auchan, overtook Walmart in the number of China-based hypermarkets.
  • Founded in 1998 and headquartered in Hong Kong, Sun Art Retail (HKG:6808) opened its first hypermarket store in Shanghai.
  • Founded in 1998 and headquartered in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, Tencent Holdings (HKG:0700) is an internet focused service company whose digital product line includes QQ (instant messaging service), WeChat (Weixin instant messaging service), and other web-based services such as video games, microblogs, search engines, web browsers, and e-commerce. In June 2004, Tencent Holdings was listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
  • In 1995, France’s Carrefour entered mainland China.

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