NEW YORK, Jan. 16 (Xinhua) -- Mobile payment, facial recognition and intelligent retail service solutions are among the leading innovative technologies Chinese consumers are accustomed to, from which global retailers are expecting to learn amid fierce market competition, according to a number of business executives attending an annual retail expo in New York City in the past week.
"In China, AI is very highly leveraged (by retailers) all the way from engaging with their consumers to the delivery. The online-to-offline (model) and the delivery model in China is very advanced and it's probably one of the best when it comes to consumer experience," Raj Raguneethan, who leads Microsoft's retail and consumer goods business in Asia, said on the sidelines of Retail's Big Show 2020, an annual expo of the U.S. National Retail Federation (NRF).
Point of sale (POS) machines made in China have been a popular product in the United States as well as in global markets. Now Chinese POS manufacturers have diversified their products in new fields by the integration with innovative technologies.
Based on its POS technology and experiences, Qingdao Wintec System has collaborated with Intel to integrate its POS system with artificial intelligence camera for item identification and checkout. One of its products, named Selfpos10, enables consumers in cafe shops and bakeries to check out the food and beverage they purchase at one time.
"It helps the retail stores lower labor costs and save consumers' time by improving the efficiency of checkout," said Michael Zhang, sales director of Wintec, which has also worked together with Alipay and WeChat Pay, the dominant mobile payment services in China.
"We call it AI solutions. It combines facial recognition and mobile payment in the process of checkout," Zhang told Xinhua. "I believe China's domestic retail sector has been taking the lead globally in terms of technology innovation and application."
Shandong New Beiyang Information Technology (SNBC) showed its printers, lockers and a smart vending machine named "smart micro market" at the expo.
Different from traditional vending machines that are only capable of selling limited product categories, the "smart micro market" allows vendors to display 80 percent to 85 percent of goods available in convenience stores with adjustable shelf spaces.
Michael Ma, account manager of SNBC Americas Business Department, told Xinhua that such vending machines have not been massively adopted in the U.S. market, but some retail brands have realized its potential. With specific brand-themed decorations, retailers can display all product categories of one brand and turn it into a smart boutique.
In addition to innovative products which help improve retailers' efficiency and profitability, exhibitors also brought new services and solutions to provide better purchasing experiences for consumers.
Acknowledging the purchasing potential of Chinese consumers in global markets, Citcon, a Chinese-founded cross-border mobile payment and marketing platform, is working on connecting global brands with Chinese consumers through its cross-border payment solutions which enable Chinese consumers to pay for their overseas purchases in Chinese yuan, while merchants settle in local currencies, both online and offline.
Such payment solutions have attracted the attention of global merchants, including luxury and value brands, restaurants, tourist agencies, and scenery spots. Although the number of Chinese tourists in the United States dropped considerably in 2019, Citcon's business revenue realized three-digit growth.
Wei Jiang, president and chief operation officer of Citcon, attributed the robust business growth to the innovative mobile wallet payment solutions they provide as well as U.S. merchants' emphasis on Chinese consumers.
China has been a global leader in the development and use of mobile payment solutions and the neighboring countries. The United States is also moving towards the direction, said Wei, adding that many of Citcon's U.S. clients are willing to access to mobile payment services available in other countries.
"The China's retail, especially the new retail and the new customer experience, is really driving innovation from East to West," Microsoft's Raguneethan said. (Contributed by Luo Jingjing, Liu Yanan)