Chinese retail giant Sun Art Retail Group is to launch a home delivery service in the fourth quarter, as part of efforts to capture further growth in the world’s biggest food and grocery market.

Sun Art established Uitox E-commerce (Shanghai) Co. in the first half of the year, which will be one of the platforms used by the group to develop its e-commerce business. Home deliveries will be distributed to customers in Shanghai, the company said. 

The news comes after the retailer yesterday (15 August) booked a 14.8% increase in first-half profit and said it will continue its store expansion in the back half of the year.

Competition within the online retail market in China is heating up. Yesterday, as Wal-Mart reported its second-quarter results, it said its Chinese online venture Yihaodian saw sales grow at a double-digit rate. 

The retailer last year increased its investment in Yihaodian to take a controlling stake in the company.

China is valued at more than US$1tn and is forecast to be worth US$1.5tn in 2016, according to statistics from research firm IGD. 

The number of higher-income earners in the country has surged in recent years, benefiting from a significant rise in wages. As a result, demand for new products, brands and concepts have soared – helping to fuel growth.