A convenient truth: Mushrooming of convenience stores in China
By CGTN’s New Money Team
From the outside, this might seem like just another convenience store. But inside, consumers pick up groceries and snacks using nothing but the scanners on their phones.
This cashier-free store is operated by Xingbianli, a Shanghai-based company established in June. It has set up eight stores and over 10,000 snack bars across the city and secured a 380-million-yuan series A round investment. 
As China’s convenience store market continues to thrive, major online retailers, such as Alibaba and JD.com, are also eyeing a slice of the pie and boost their offline reach. Alibaba’s retail supply app LST allows mom-and-pop stores to order inventory and arrange transport.
On this big-data backed retail management system, store owners are able to access wholesalers directly without having to deal with middlemen. Besides, store owners are able to select goods based on big data-based recommendations. All this helps boost efficiency and cut costs. 
A newly released report says China’s convenience stores have seen an average yearly growth of 9 percent, with top and second-tier cities as the hot spots for industry growth.
The report adds that the mushrooming of shops is driven by surging consumer demand. It also says differentiated products and services will help industry players to carve out a place in the increasingly competitive market.