Alibaba Group

The store of the future is a supermarket

Animated illustration of a neon sign with a brown paper bag and fruit flying out.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

With their high volume foot traffic, grocery stores are ideal labs to test bold ideas meant to save brick and mortar retail.

China's Alibaba is leading the way. In its Hema supermarkets shoppers can choose groceries in store, then get them delivered, or they can order online, then drive over to pick up.

China's growth is driven by communist capitalism

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

While there are growing tensions between capitalist success and liberal-democratic principles, there are no such tensions with Chinese-style communism. Instead, the tensions appear between Chinese companies and countries trying to protect their citizens' rights and privacy.

The big picture: Between 2000 and 2017, Chinese GDP grew by 910% in constant-dollar terms. U.S. GDP, by contrast, grew by only 44% over the same time period. The greatest capitalist success story of the 21st century is a communist regime with an atrocious human-rights record. Every company wants to do business there: The profit motive means collaboration with the Party.

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