This big supermarket chain created its own Chinese e-commerce site and is offering web merchandise for sale through tablet computers deployed in its stores.

French supermarket chain Carrefour SA has been operating stores in China since 1995. Now it’s also operating an online store. launched last month, selling mostly grocery and household items. It only delivers to Shanghai for now, but the retailer says it plans to expand to other cities.

In addition to sell via the web, the retailer has installed tablets in its stores to allow shoppers to order from online inventory. Carrefour also is using its stores as distribution centers for some online orders as well as allowing consumers to pick up online orders in stores.

As one of the pioneer international retailers in China, Carrefour entered China in 1995 and now operates 238 supermarkets in about 70 cities. 

To tap the online business opportunity, Carrefour plans to build a series of fulfillment centers to serve both its stores and to fulfill online orders. The first is being built in Kunshan, near Shanghai, to distribute products to cities along China’s heavily populated eastern coast. Carrefour plans to build a total of six fulfillment centers in China by the end of 2016.  


As a relative latecomer to selling groceries online in China, Carrefour faces fierce competition. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., for example, introduced last month a mobile shopping app in China. In addition, Wal-Mart owns 51% of, a Chinese online grocery retailer that is No. 7  Internet Retailer China 500 and growing rapidly.

“The operational cost of is lower than many large grocery chains in China and it is already profitable,” Jason Han, the former chief technology officer of, tells Internet Retailer.