Chinese retail giant JD.com has made its first foray into food production through a tie-up with Japanese conglomerate Mitsubishi.
JD.com said the two companies have opened a hydroponic “plant factory” in China. The facility spans 11,040 square meters and incorporates a hydroponic culturing system with solar light and a closed seedling production environment using artificial light.
It produces vegetables including spinach, cabbage and lettuce. The fresh produce is to be sold online, as well as offline at JD’s 7Fresh supermarkets.
JD.com said the new factory can produce a higher output of vegetables than traditional agriculture systems. The retailer said the site can grow 19 batches of spinach in a year, compared to four in a field or six in a greenhouse. Vegetables can be delivered to consumers’ tables as soon as the day they are cropped, JD.com claimed.
“The JD plant factory in Tongzhou marks JD’s entry into the very beginning of the fresh food production chain, allowing us to guarantee that the fresh goods we sell have been treated with the care JD applies to everything we do,” Xiaosong Wang, president of JD.com’s FMCG and food businesses, said.