(Yicai Global) Aug. 29 -- Tmall, an online marketplace owned by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. [NYSE:BABA], unveiled authorized smart brick-and-mortar community shops dubbed Tmall Stores, Alibaba said at a press briefing yesterday. The first has opened in Hangzhou. The number of such centers is expected to exceed 10,000 in China this year, Alibaba said.
Alibaba will select its partners for Tmall Stores using big data analysis, state-run Xinhua news agency quoted Lin Xiaohai, the group's vice president, as saying.
Alibaba service platforms providing ordering, logistics, marketing and value-added services to offline retail stores already cover 500,000 locations across China and will serve more than 1 million by the end of this year, Lin said.
"With data analysis, traditional street shops will have access to more services such as shared graded warehousing and logistics services," said Liu Jianfeng, director of the product center of Alibaba's retail unit. "Tmall Stores will also receive support [from Alibaba] in marketing and smart hardware applications in the future."
Tmall Stores will be smart traditional shops that have upgraded by connecting to Alibaba's retail platform. They can enjoy services including dedicated purchasing channels, exclusive products and big data services and will be integrated into Alibaba's ecosystem, which includes Alibaba Health Information Technology Ltd. [HK:0241], Fliggy.com, Cun.taobao.com, Cainiao.com and Alimama.com. Each Tmall Store will have at least one row of dedicated shelves with Tmall products.
Tmall Stores will operate as franchisees. Alibaba will be selective and uses big data to pick shops within 500 meters of densely-populated communities.