Retailer X5 Scouting for Innovations in China

Leading Russian food retailer X5 Retail Group has launched its search for innovative solutions on the Chinese market, with a review of participating start-ups, International Supermarket News reports.

The scouting process is designed to provide technology solutions for key areas of retail digitalisation, including customer experience, in-store operations, supply chain, e-commerce, and process automation.

In a four-stage selection process, X5’s expert panel will join forces with the company’s Chinese partners to assess the submitted projects. X5 aims to attract over 100 start-ups as part of this initiative.

“China is the world’s largest and fastest growing market that leads the way in promoting innovation. Due to the sheer size and specific context of the Chinese market, local start-ups have long been drawing exclusively on domestic demand. But mature start-ups that have developed a strong position in the domestic market could decide to go global. In such case collaboration with Russian companies is becoming increasingly appealing to them,” said Denis Levchenko, head of Innovation Scouting at X5 Retail Group.

“For us, tapping into the Chinese market means gaining access to a major source of innovative solutions. The combination of our extensive experience in retail and Chinese innovations is expected to produce a strong synergistic effect,” he added.

The projects will be assessed in terms of their commercial value, as well as their potential to be rolled out within 18 months and customized to the Russian market. Several start-ups will be invited to take part in the proof of concept (PoC) phase involving X5’s investment and infrastructure.

XNode, a leading Chinese platform, was chosen as the partner and advisor for the scouting campaign in China. XNode is a platform helping entrepreneurs and innovators to build fast-growing tech businesses across China. XNode runs community projects and corporate innovation programs with the intent to better understand how innovation thrives in a Chinese context.

 “We are excited to partner with X5 in bringing Chinese innovative solutions to Russia. Chinese start-ups and scale-ups are innovating at an unprecedented speed specifically in areas such as Retail and E-commerce. As a result, we see increasing demand from Chinese founders with more mature start-ups to engage in cross-border collaboration. Our partnership with X5 is a first major step towards building more bridges between Russia and China in the area of tech innovation and we hope to build many more in the future,” said Wei Zhou, CEO and founder of XNode.