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China tech

JD.com's first brick-and-mortar mall set to open in Xi'an

VR and interactive elements intended to forge e-commerce synergies

JD Mall will offer interactive shopping experiences, including through the use of virtual reality. (Photo courtesy of JD.com)

SHANGHAI -- Chinese e-tailer JD.com opens its first brick-and-mortar mall this month in the city of Xi'an, looking to further blend online and offline retail operations.

The JD Mall officially opens Sept. 30, selling 200,000 items across an area of over 40,000 sq. meters in the central Chinese city. Tenants range from electronics companies like Huawei Technologies and Haier to restaurants and home goods stores.

The mall will include beauty and health shops with interactive components as well as virtual reality experiences. By offering an immersive experience, JD.com hopes to promote products in a way that is difficult to convey through a screen and woo customers for its online platform as well.

JD.com has made inroads into physical retail recently through grocery and convenience stores, and the company will apply this know-how to the JD Mall.

Other Chinese tech companies are turning to brick-and-mortar operations as well. Alibaba Group Holding opened a large shopping center in Hangzhou in 2018. The company operates the Hema supermarket chain and other physical stores, and it took control of hypermarket chain Sun Art Retail in 2020.

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