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A customer scans his Amazon Go cellphone app at the entrance as he heads into an Amazon Go store in Seattle, 1 of many to come to the U.S. but behind Alibaba in China   

Amazon is starting to roll out its Amazon Go cashier-free stores across the U.S. now and getting rave reviews for the new convenient shopping. But the service is behind Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba in this new retail trend of the future.
Alibaba's own efficient cashier-less Hema stores were tested in China for two years and launched in several Chinese cities, months before Amazon's trial of one AI-empowered store in Seattle. Amazon Go is now in Chicago and San Francisco too, with New York City in the wings soon. Amazon plans to open 3,000 Go Stores by 2021 while Alibaba aims to have 80 outlets in China by the end of this year.
One could argue that Alibaba's Hema stores in China make Amazon Go's no cashiers, no check-outs stores look late and maybe even outdated. Hema is more of an all-encompassing shopping, eating and delivery experience, and it's moved faster.

Co-founder Peggy YuYu of Dangdang, circa
Silicon Dragon 2008
The growing and staying power of China's tech titans Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent is remarkable considering the dead ends or detours of other well-funded Chinese Internet companies of their generation.
Take China's once highly promising Amazon-like book retailer Dangdang. The Chinese startup listed on the NYSE in November 2010 but  delisted in 2016 to go private after its move to offer a broader array of merchandise online beyond books didn't meet expectations, leaving the company with losses.
Now, a takeover deal by China's HNA has been nixed due to the Chinese conglomerate's own failing finances.
Cathay Capital invests $10 million in Strikingly, a startup in San Francisco to easily build mobile optimized sites. 
Sequoia Capital, CapitalG and Accel have put $225 million, Series A investment in a robotic process automation company UiPath at a valuation of $3 billion.  

X Financial went public on the NYSE this past week,
raising $105 million. Started by the founder of
 eLong (which was NYSE listed until it was bought by Ctrip and Tencent), and backed by some big tycoons in Hong Kong, X Financial provides peer-to-peer loans and investment opportunities for mass affluent investors in China. The IPO goal was trimmed from $250 million a month earlier. Another day, another China IPO in NYC!


SoftBank Ventures Korea, a Seoul-based venture capital arm of Japanese internet giant SoftBank Group, has launched a $300 million new fund targeting investment opportunities in China.

Jack Ma sent out a grave warning regarding the trade war between the U.S. and China: It could last 20 years. Then, he backtracked on his pledge to create 1 million jobs in America through Alibaba's e-commerce portals, amid the U.S.-China trade war.     

Is China already ahead of the U.S. in warehouse robotics, even without Made in China 2025? This
Washington Post article, suggests it might be.
Data is the new oil, and China is the new Saudi Arabia: Kai-Fu Lee on Squawk Box, discussing his new book, AI Superpowers