China: Cashier-free stores operator Bianlifeng acquires rival Lingwa

Photo: REUTERS/JASON LEE

Beijing-based cashier-free stores operator Bianlifeng has acquired a controlling stake in its peer Lingwa, reported CMN. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The acquisition will help Bianlifeng expand its market reach by adding Lingwa’s 10,000 stores to its network. After the merger, Lingwa will continue to operate independently under its own brand, while Bianlifeng will share its IT platform, logistics resources and customers with Lingwa, the report said.

The latest merger is a reflection of a broader trend of consolidation that’s engulfing the cashier-free store sector. The competition in the sector is intensifying as more and more players enter the sector.

In October, Shanghai-based Xingbianli announced the acquisition of 51 Snackbar, which was established in July 2016. A month prior, smart shelf operator Guoxiaomei merged with its peer Fangqiebianli.

Founded in 2016, Beijing Mengxiangfeng Chain Business Co., Ltd (Bianlifeng) owns and operates a chain of convenience stores. It offers the concept of new retailing by integrating Internet elements to offline stores and recruiting both traditional convenience stores and Internet practitioners.

The company also offers an online application that offers online payment, offline self-shopping service, online shopping, and home delivery services. Bianlifeng has about 50,000 cashier-free shelves throughout China.

Bianlifeng raised $300 million from CC Zhuang, founder of Chinese online travel search portal Qunar.com and venture firm Zebra Capital in a funding round in February last year.

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