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Chinese Commercial Giant Suning Signs Strategic Partnership with German Powerhouse SAP SE

Two of China and Germany’s biggest enterprises, Suning Holdings Group and SAP SE, have signed a strategic partnership that will see the two firms jointly conduct advanced research in Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, cloud computing and blockchain technologies.

As one of the positive interfirm cooperations reached during the China-Germany intergovernmental consultations in Berlin this week, the major agreement was signed by Suning Holdings Group Chairman Zhang Jindong and Michael Kleinemeier, Digital Business Services Organisation Leader at SAP SE and Member of the Executive Board. Also present at the ceremony were Mr Steven Zhang, President of Suning International, and LI Qiang, General Manager of SAP China.

The landmark deal will see Suning and SAP SE conduct a series of tech research and development of smart retail innovations with increasing investment to establish the world’s leading advantages of “Industrial Digitization” and explore the revolutionary application of digitized-economy technology in China’s retail, financial and sports industries.

To further boost the in-depth cooperation in digitization and innovation fields of the two countries, the pair will also:
• Establish a smart retail ecological service platform to empower China’s retail industry by providing supply-chain solutions including store management, product sourcing, logistics and payment services for the country’s small and medium sized retail enterprises.
• Build a data-driven NTOCC platform and establish intelligent warehousing and delivery systems to significantly improve the operation efficiency and user experience of logistics industry.
• Construct a digitised platform for Chinese football clubs and youth training systems designed to help support the development of the sport in China.

Suning Chairman, Zhang Jindong, said: “As a leading smart retail enterprise, Suning’s partnership with SAP, with whom we have built a long-term cooperation, will provide a new opportunity for both sides to share and innovatively use the resource and data accumulated in retail and corporate management fields. We look forward to working closely together on the establishment of smart retail and smart logistics services platforms to boost the revolutionary development of the retail industry.”

The deal also reflects the implementation of the ‘Belt and Road Initiative’, a development strategy which focuses on connectivity and cooperation between Eurasian countries. Suning, which has interests in eight industries including retail through its subsidiary Suning.com, the leading ‘O2O’ (offline to online) retailer in China ranked in the Fortune Global 500 in 2017, is also keen to create more opportunities for overseas brands from Germany to access the lucrative China market.

In 2017, annual sales of German brands achieved EUR 1.5 billion on Suning.com’s omni-channel retail platform while Suning’s overseas shoppers grew 116 per cent over the same period. Suning also has longstanding cooperations with the likes of Bosch and Siemens. Suning and SAP SE have themselves been working in partnership for the last 13 years.