Walmart banks on tech innovationn escalator in a Walmart

US retail giant Walmart Inc will continue to grow its hypermarkets, Sam’s Club stores, and community-ba

sed smaller-sized supermarkets businesses in China with more advanced technologies, according to a top official.

Doug McMillon, president and CEO of Walmart, told China Daily during his visit to Shanghai on Thursday that China is still one of

the most important markets for the US retailer. Technology will be another major focus area for the com

pany in China as Walmart has always been a “people-led company that relies heavily on technology,” he said.

McMillon said Walmart has developed digital solutions to better u

nderstand customer behavior and spending patterns, which in turn has helped the ret

ailer to create new products and to solve old retail problems with modern technology.

Wern-Yuen Tan, president and CEO of Walmart China, said digital technology has hel

ped Walmart to reach out to more customers and improved the overall decisionmaking process.

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For example, technologies like artificial intelligence

have improved the company’s stocking and inventory processes.

“Earlier we were reliant on the intuitions and experience of the local operation team. With the

use of technology like AI and big data, we are getting more accurate answers.”

As a larger and older retailer, Walmart has constantly worked with startups, said McMillon, citing the new Omega 8 platf

orm that enables retail innovation startups to collaborate with Walmart China to create better services for customers.

McMillon cited the example of a scanning ring developed by a starup for

Walmart that shortens pickup time for JD Daojia orders to less than 10 minutes and impr

ovements in the overall efficiency by 50 percent. Walmart’s WeChat mini-program has over 30 million members and is

developing an e-commerce service based on WeChat to help customers shop more easily and more accurately.

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Thanks to the integration of its online-and-offline bus

inesses, McMillon said brick-and-mortar stores have become hybrid, and forward fulfillment centers.

He said Sam’s Club has been gaining strength in the country. The high-end m

embership store that was launched in China in 1996 has about 2 million members nati

onwide. By 2020, there will be 40 such clubs either in operation or in construction in the country. The format ha

s 23 stores currently in 19 cities stocking quality fresh food and membership products.

Globally Walmart has 11,300 stores, with a third of them large stores.

According to Kantar Worldpanel, in 2018 Walmart’s market share was 5.4 percent, an improvement from t

he 5.2 percent in 2017. Last year it opened 33 new stores, including 21 hypermarkets, four Sam‘s Club and eight compact stores.

Jason Yu, general manager of Kantar Worldpanel China, said Walmart has to roll out

more innovations to further improve its operational efficiency and achieve growth through

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As a prominent expert on China-US studies for decade

 Zhu also was twice denied single-entry visas to the US.

“This shows how the US is trying to block normal social exchanges bet

ween the two countries, an important channel for mutual understanding and trust,” Zhu said.

Besides scholars in social sciences, the US also began last year to make it harder for Chinese graduate students to get visas if they stud

y in “sensitive research fields”. It warned biomedical researchers at US universities to beware of “Chinese spies

trying to steal information from their laboratories”, according to The New York Times report.

Jon Taylor, a professor of political science of the University o

f St. Thomas in Houston, said the decision is “both absurd and exceedingly shortsighted”.

“These scholars and researchers are social scientists with a long history of interactin

g with their American counterparts as well policymakers in both countries,” he said.

“They are scholars teaching and researching what I teach and research. What are they going to steal?”

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The country will host over 5,000 participants from mor

than 150 countries, including 37 heads of state or government, for the thre

e-day event starting on Thursday, Wang said, adding the forum, themed “Belt and Road Coop

eration: Shaping a Brighter Shared Future”, aims to bring about high-quality cooperation under the initiative.

President Xi Jinping will deliver a keynote speech at the op

ening ceremony of the forum, and chair the leaders’ round-table summit, Wang said.

Saying the BRI has delivered real benefits to participating countries, Wang stated the hats like “debt traps” cannot be put onto t

he head of the Belt and Road, and this is not something any participating country would recognize.

He added that international communities should base their understandings and comments about the BRI on the facts.

Trade volume between China and the countries participating in the B

RI has exceeded $6 trillion, the number of investment is over $80 billion and arou

nd 300,000 jobs have been created for the people from the countries involved in the initiative, Wang said.

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China’s trade with the US amounted to 815.86 billi

on yuan ($121.7 billion) between January and March, a decrease of 1

1 percent year-on-year, according to the General Administration of Customs.

In March, Sino-US trade climbed 0.1 percent to 291.35 billion yuan, the administration said.

Li Kuiwen, spokesman for the customs authority, said trade tensions between the two cou

ntries have had certain impacts on companies’ operations, but the impact is “generally controllable”.

Li said economic and trade cooperation remains the ballast of Sino-US re

lations, and he is hopeful that China and the US will achieve mutually beneficial results.

China’s economy, despite headwinds, has enjoyed a good start in 2019, and the country

has the confidence to achieve the annual projected growth goal, said the nation’s top economic regulator.

Yuan Da, spokesperson with the National Development and Reform Commission, said the

first quarter’s stable economic development has laid a solid foundation for annual growth.

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Pollution ‘worsened’ by climate changeijing area could b

Smog in greater Beijing area could be thickened by 15 percent, experts say

Climate change has been making meteorological conditions in the

greater Beijing area more conducive to the generation of haze, and combined with heavy s

mog, the situation could trigger a rapid increase in the concentration of airborne pollutants, researchers said.

The National Joint Research Center for Tackling Key Problems in Air Pollution Control demonstra

ted that without a reduction in the discharge of pollutants, air quality in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei cluster

could worsen by about 10 percent and even up to 15 percent in some cities because of unfavorable meteorological co

nditions, the China Meteorological Administration said in a release on Thursday.

Heavy air pollution and a high concentration of particulate

matter is more likely to be seen when wind speeds are lower than 7.2 kilometers per hour, rel

ative humidity is above 60 percent, and there is less than a 500-meter high “mixin

g layer”, which refers to the atmospheric height over which pollutants can be dispersed, it said.

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Amazon to end local 3rd-party sales in Chinaon offices in Ne

US-based tech giant Amazon.com Inc plans to shut down its third-party seller services on its Chinese online marketplace

in July, as it shifts its focus to offering Chinese mainland consumers overseas products rather than goods from local sellers.

Starting July 18, customers logging in to Amazon’s Chinese web portal will only see a selec

tion of goods from its global store, rather than products from local third-party sellers.

Amazon said it will keep running its other businesses in China, inclu

ding the cross-border shopping business Amazon Global Store; Global Selling, which helps Chin

ese merchants sell products abroad; its cloud service platform Amazon Web Services; and Kindle e-book devices and content.

“Over the past few years, we have been evolving our China online retail business to increasingly

emphasize cross-border sales, and in return we’ve seen a very strong response from Chinese customers.

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Abe to send envoy to Belt and Road ForumAbe will

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will send his special envoy Toshihiro Nikai, secretary-general of the rulin

g Liberal Democratic Party, to attend the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing.

In a news conference held by the Japanese embassy in China on Monday, Takeshi Osuga, J

apanese Foreign Ministry spokesman, said Nikai will visit China from April 24 to 29 to attend the forum and give a speech.

In a previous conference at LDP’s headquarters in Tokyo, N

ikai said his party called for increased exchange between Japan and China.

As the Japanese foreign minister Taro Kono just ended a three-day visit to China, Osuga

said the visit was “very positive” and further strengthened bilateral ties between Beijing and Tokyo.

“In the fifth China-Japan High-level Economic Dialogue, China and J

apan achieved agreement to cooperate in such areas as energy conservation and environ

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Ma Xiaoguang, spokesman for the State Council’s Taiw

wan Affairs Office, said in a statement on Tuesday that the exercise aimed to protect national sover

eignty and territorial integrity, as well as protect the common interests of people from both sides of the straits.

Taiwan’s administration, led by the Democratic Progressive Party, used the drill as an opport

unity to “deceive and mislead the residents of Taiwan and to provoke and escalate a cross-Straits confrontation,” Ma said.

“Its goal of undermining cross-Straits relations and the peace and security of the region will not succeed,” Ma said. “Nobo

dy should underestimate our adamant resolve and ability to protect national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

On Tuesday, Taiwan leader Tsai Ing-wen said she will not be intimidated by the military d

rill, calling the exercise “a threat to Taiwan” and an act of “coercion”, the island’s media reported.

Tsai also thanked the United States for considering a deal with Taiwan to renew a $500

million training program in the US for Taiwan F-16 pilots and maintenance crews.

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