Fung Retailing Limited, with a network of more than 3,000 stores, and JD.com, China's largest retailer, on Friday (February 2) announced a partnership to develop Artificial Intelligence-driven retail solutions. According to the agreement, the two companies will cooperate in using AI to transform the retail landscape and to collaborate in areas including AI platform development and the application of AI to smart retail.
(Back left) Victor Fung, Group Chairman of the Fung Group; (front left) Sabrina Fung, Group Managing Director of Fung Retailing Limited; (back right) Richard Liu, Chairman and CEO of JD.com and (front right) Bowen Zhou, Vice-President of JD.com and Head of JD's AI Platform and Research.
The agreement calls for the establishment of an AI Boundaryless Retail Centre that will oversee and manage cooperative research and development projects and facilitate the sharing of information and expertise relating to AI technology. Leveraging AI, and combining JD.com's extensive online expertise and Fung Retailing's offline expertise, the two companies aim to develop a new retail format for China and Asia. This includes creating an AI-driven retail system that seamlessly integrates online and offline retail platforms; developing an end-to-end system that enables the management of products, pricing, storage, order and payment; and enhancing consumer experience through solutions such as AI-driven virtual fitting, unmanned stores and smart shopping assistants.
Speaking at the signing, Sabrina Fung, Group Managing Director of Fung Retailing Limited, said: "When it comes to the future of retail, and driving the customer experience, AI is an essential component. Across our retail portfolio, AI is a focal point and this co-operation with JD will, without doubt, accelerate our progress."
Bowen Zhou, Vice-President of JD.com and Head of JD's AI Platform and Research, said: "As one of the largest retailers in the world, we believe that figuring out how to deploy AI solutions is critical to our future success. Drawing on Fung Retailing's global offline retail expertise, this partnership will be important for us as we deliver our retail vision."
Other areas of focus within the agreement include cooperation on the construction of AI infrastructure, as well as smart retail, creating AI-driven solutions that break down the barriers between online and offline and exploring the intersection of AI and fashion.
The retailing businesses of the Fung Group are brought together under privately-held Fung Retailing Limited and extend from Greater China to the UK, France, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines through a combined network of more than 3,000 stores.
JD.com is both the largest e-commerce company in China and the largest Chinese retailer, by revenue.