Dalian Wanda looking online to boost business

China’s Dalian Wanda Group seeks to tap online resources to bolster its retail property business.

This includes introducing a smartphone payment system and using customer data for individualised promotion strategies.

The property developer is partnering with card payment service provider China UnionPay, and is hoping to raise 10 billion yuan (US$1.5 billion) from external investors to launch a new business.

Dalian Wanda chairman Wang Jianlin says the strategy is the result of a three-year study by the company to explore ways to take advantage of online resources. While the group already has a company dedicated to handling online-related business, so far it has not been fully used.

Its partnership with China UnionPay represents the first major step in the new direction. The deal will see the installation of UnionPay QuickPass smartphone-payment electronic readers at 187 locations, including Wanda Plaza, hotels and hospitals. Customers can also earn incentive points and use them at Wanda properties.

Transaction data will be used to analyse buying behaviours and for such purposes as sending out personalised promotional emails.

Offering discount prices and home delivery, e-commerce companies like Alibaba Group Holding and JD.com are rapidly expanding market share in China’s retail industry. This has hit supermarkets and department stores including Wanda Group, which closed half of its department stores last year.

To help make up for shrinking retail sales, Wanda Group has been focussing on running cinemas, but this segment last year showed signs of plateauing, reports Nikkei Asian Review.

Wang says that not many Chinese businesses have succeeded in effectively combining online and physical resources. He says Wanda Group has an advantage in that the partnership will bring together the leading companies in their respective areas.

He says the group will also launch an online business to further its plan to unite physical and internet resources.

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