New retail landscape gives China startups a boost amid pandemic

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TOKYO — The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the development and adoption of technology that aid online sales, giving a boost to Chinese startups in fields such as contactless payments and video monitoring.While Japan, the U.S. and some countries in Europe are still fighting the pandemic, China, from where the outbreak originated, has resumed economic activities. Yet, the previous way of life may no longer be sustainable amid fears of a return of the disease.Some startups are responding to such changes by hastening their development plans.Shanghai Ulucu Electronic Technology, founded in 2009, is a pioneer in the field of video monitoring systems designed for retailers in China. While the number of visitors to stores has sharply decreased due to lockdowns in the country, Ulucu said its systems that employ artificial intelligence will come in useful as social distancing becomes the new normal.As the coronavirus infections surged in China in January, Ulucu said its systems could help to minimize contact between workers. “Investment in AI and digitization of shops will further increase especially among big companies,” said Shen Xiuping, chairman and CEO of Ulucu.Indeed, Chinese internet company Tencent Holdings has invested an undisclosed amount in the startup …

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