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When the Physical Meets the Digital

How Wanda Group, China’s largest shopping center network, succeeded to combine the physical and digital worlds and bring new value to its customers

This post is based on an article written by Prof. Howard Yu, a professor of business administration and innovation at the Swiss IMD business school.

The article presents the exciting case study of the Wanda Group, China’s largest real estate developer that specializes in shopping centers. The company is known for her excellent business performance and for understanding how to leverage digital technologies to support the group’s accelerating growth.

The shopping centers are facing competitive challenges from the e-commerce giants, like Alibaba and others, and therefore have to reinvent themselves to remain competitive in a world where the boundaries between the shopping experience in shopping centers and e-commerce are blurring quickly.

Wand Group operates a huge network of shopping centers that host and combine shopping, cinema, and children playing grounds, hotels and office spaces. Recently they have expanded into amusements parks, film production, sports, technology and internet.

To remain competitive, they decided to implement a two path action plan: improving the customer experience in their shopping centers and leveraging the power of digital technologies. Prof. Yu’s article shows how this business giant succeeded in this two path action plan and to continue to grow in this competitive business landscape.

Regarding improving the customer experience, they were one of the first shopping centers in China to include restaurants and by 2017 they have become the world’s largest cinema chain operators. Their shopping centers include spacious indoor playgrounds within the plazas where children can play on traditional slides, swings, ball pits and educational arcade equipment.

Regarding their digital systems, Wanda’s Group rapid expansion capabilities, is supported by their IT backbone that has enabled the company to carry out informed decision making, streamline operations, codify its knowledge and operate at scale.

Here is Prof. Yu’s article.

Wanda Group is a great case study of the digital transformation journey of companies, as described in our “Doing Digital” e-book. Using digital technologies has helped Wand Group to expand quickly and become one of the world largest shopping centers operator.

Here is a link to our e-book.

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