Freshippo: A New Species in Chinese Retail (A)– Business Model Evolution

Wen‐Ching Chang, Qiong Zhu

Research output: Other contributionCase Studies


Freshippo Case (A) illustrates the formation and evolution of Freshippo’s integrated online and offline business model in the Chinese retail market through the story of Freshippo’s entrepreneurial endeavor over the first two and a half years. By June 2018, Freshippo had opened 46 brick-andmortar stores nationwide, including a robot-assisted store and F2 convenience store, which provided breakfast and lunch for office workers. In addition, there was an e-commerce platform, Freshippo Cloud Supermarket, and a quasi-Freshippo store, Hexiaoma, which was jointly run by Freshippo and an offline retailer. Freshippo Case (B) focuses on the data and technology drivers behind Freshippo’s business model. The reason why Freshippo could cross the boundary of online and offline retail was that it combined technologies like mobile Internet, cloud computing, big data, and artificial intelligence to create a new business model around “omni-channel supermarkets” as well as mobile e-commerce. In this way, it strengthened online and offline interaction anytime, anywhere between consumers and stores. However, defects had appeared one after another in the evolution of Freshippo’s business model, such as unsatisfactory on-site management and services and long wait times for food preparation. Therefore, Freshippo needed to make decisions on the following questions: Should efforts be made simultaneously on business model exploration and business expansion, or should priority be given to overcoming the shortcomings and improving the business model first? With the arrival of the 5G era, how should Freshippo leverage emerging technologies to evolve into a more sustainable and profitable platform?
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2019

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Case normative number


Case type

Field Case

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Published by

China Europe International Business School


  • Freshippo
  • platform
  • business model evolution
  • technology-driven innovation
  • Alibaba
  • New Retail

Case studies discipline

  • Entrepreneurship
  • Information Technology
  • Strategy

Case studies industry

  • Accommodation & Food Services
  • Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services
  • Retail Trade


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