Walmart China looks to improve product traceability with blockchain
Walmart China will work with VeChainThor Blockchain technology to try and improve product information in the Chinese market where consumer trust can be low due to previous scandals
VeChain's blockchain technology is enabling Walmart China to implement a traceability strategy for products through the large-scale application of blockchain traceability. By scanning the desired products, customers can acquire detailed information, including the source of the scanned products and geographic location received by Walmart, logistics process, product inspection report, and many more data points. Data collection and data availability are to be continually added to the scale of the platform and its use of blockchain technology.
Walmart China has given priority to products of high-concern and high-risk. A variety of food and product safety scandals have hit China over the last decade, which has led to increased scrutiny on the part of Chinese consumers, for example on baby milk, which saw imported sales skyrocket after tainted batches were discovered. Walmart China appears to be hoping that increasing the ability of consumers to check whether their higher demands on food safety are being met through digitalisation of food traceability will increase their brand value and win consumers' trust.
The first batch of 23 product lines have been tested and implemented using the public blockchain platform with more than 100 product lines following in the second half of this year, covering more than 10 categories.
It is expected that the Walmart China's traceability system will see traceable fresh meat account for 50% of the total sales of packaged fresh meat, traceable vegetables will account for 40% of the total sales of packaged vegetables, traceable seafood will account for 12.5% of the total sales of seafood by the end of 2020.
Walmart China expects the use of the platform to continue to grow in scope, accounted scales, and geographic implementation. As the platform continues to expand, more categories of food will be traceable and thus the value transfer will be further expanded in the industry reflected on the VeChainThor Blockchain.
The Walmart China Blockchain Traceability Platform, built on the VeChainThor Blockchain, was announced at the 2019 China Products Safety Publicity Week Traceability System Construction Seminar. Also involved are China Chain-Store & Franchise Association (CCFA), PwC and Inner Mongolia Kerchin Co., Ltd.
Through the technical support of PwC and VeChain, Walmart China has built the proprietary food safety traceability platform on the VeChainThor Blockchain. Participants in the supply chain will share their portion of data, and promote the visibility and management efficiency of the whole chain by utilizing the blockchain technology.
In the future, the Walmart China Traceability Platform shall adopt multilateral cooperation, synchronizing data from local governments' traceability platforms and suppliers' own platforms.
Kevin Feng, Chief Operating Officer of VeChain commented on the collaboration, said: "As the world-leading enterprise-public blockchain platform, VeChain aims to empower enterprises in the large-scale digitization process by providing safe and mature blockchain deployment solutions and promote the wide application of blockchain technology. We achieve this while putting forward new insights for the development of the businesses' ecosystems. The launch of the Blockchain Traceability Platform by Walmart China, the world-class retail giant, is of great significance to the commercial application of blockchain technology. VeChain will work with Walmart China to actively take heed of the call of the government, by utilizing technology to promote the traceability of fresh food, and to provide innovative solutions for the traceability platform through digital technology, so as to generate more transparent and reassuring consumption experience."
Shi Jiaqi, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer of Walmart China, stated: "Walmart has always worked to provide reliable products of quality and convenient services to customers, which is our core value proposition. With this target in mind, Walmart has continuously invested in the whole supply chain, from source procurement and commodity strategy, supply chain construction, to store and e-commerce platform operation management. We use digital methods to improve efficiency and transparency, providing products and services of quality to customers and making life better for busy families in China. "
Elton Yeung, Strategy and Innovation Leader, PwC Mainland China and Hong Kong, pointed out: "PwC's mission is 'building trust and solving important problems', which is the top priority of PwC in providing professional services and making business decisions. In the face of food safety, how to build consumer trust is a problem that PwC, our clients and partners have been trying to solve. We believe that Walmart's Blockchain Traceability System will be an excellent example of blockchain technology applied in the retail industry, helping to improve food safety and quality management, and providing a strong guarantee for building consumer trust.