Kroger today announced a deal with Chinese tech giant Alibaba to sell groceries online in China as the U.S. chain continues to invest in new technology efforts as it battles Amazon and others.
Kroger, which owns stores such as QFC and Fred Meyer, will sell its private label products as part of a pilot with Alibaba’s Tmall online storefront. It’s the first international expansion for Cincinnati-based Kroger, which has rolled out multiple tech-related initiatives in recent months, including deals with British online grocer Ocado, a new e-commerce service called Kroger Ship, and a driverless grocery delivery pilot project. Kroger is also working with Microsoft on other tech implementations.
“E-commerce enables Kroger to quickly scale to reach new customers and markets where we don’t operate physical stores, starting with China,” Yael Cosset, Kroger’s chief digital officer, said in a statement. “We anticipate Chinese consumers will love Our Brands – starting with Simple Truth® products – just like our American customers do.”
The battle for grocery industry dominance continues to heat up, particularly after Amazon’s $13.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods last year. Amazon has rolled out various integrations with Whole Foods since the deal, including expanded grocery delivery. Walmart is also investing in online initiatives and is partnering with China-based JD.com, a rival of Alibaba.