CK Hutchinson enhances its telecom and retail business through alliance with Meitu

CK Hutchison Holdings Limited (CK Hutchison) seems decided to enhance the shopper experience provided by its retail division. The hongkonese holding announced today a strategic alliance with China’s leading image processing and social sharing platform, Meitu Inc.

Meitu will partner with CK Hutchison’s retail division, A.S. Watson Group, and Hong Kong telecom subsidiary, 3 Hong Kong, to build a brand-new business model integrating social media and retail. The mentioned new business model will combine beauty products purchase experience and social media, through the launch in Hong Kong of: “MeituDIY” mobile customization service; Meitu’s “Magic Mirror”; Meitu’s BeautyCam app; and the cooperation between Meitu and Watsons China.

Leveraging Meitu’s artificial intelligence technology and CK Hutchison’s expertise in retail and telecom, the alliance intends to bring a refreshing and interactive online and offline shopping experience pointed at millennials actual and potential customers.
Canning Fok, Group Co-Managing Director of CK Hutchison, said, “This partnership further enhances our customer connectivity, improving CK Hutchison’s online and offline interaction with customers. Meitu users can try beauty products virtually on their mobile phone and get product recommendation through advanced artificial intelligence. In addition to expanding the customer base in China and Hong Kong, Watsons aims to provide the best shopping experience for its patrons. 3 Hong Kong customers can design personalised products and enjoy a new, one-stop mobile shopping experience through our cooperation with Meitu. We are confident of this partnership and believe that it will create a three-way win for customers, Meitu and CK Hutchison.”

Bryan Cheng, Chief Operating Officer of Meitu, added, “With a huge number of female online users from Meitu and strong female customer base from CK Hutchison, the partnership can further improve the value of Meitu’s user platforms while combining beauty with social media, strengthening the connection and interaction with our customers as well as making them look more beautiful.”

This movement comes after the agreement inked last 26th September with WeLab to establish an strategical collaboration between both companies in the fintech field.

Both alliances signed by CK Hutchinson in the retail and fintech services fields say that there’s still many to expect in mobile, e-retail and fintech experiences in Asia beyond Alibaba developments.

The Hongkonese holding explains: “Digital revolution has been changing the behaviour and expectations of consumers. CK Hutchison continues to invest strategically in research and development on technology innovations to enhance the core competitiveness of its long-established telecom and retail businesses.”

The alliance between Meitu and CK Hutchinson’s 3 Hong Kong

Meitu and CK Hutchison’s 3 Hong Kong will partner to introduce “MeituDIY” customization service to Hong Kong, and 3 Hong Kong’s customers will be the first to experience this one-stop value added service to create personalised products. After editing photos through the Hong Kong version of the Meitu app, users can print their photos directly on mobile phone cases, clothes, umbrellas, cloth bags, cups and mouse pads, creating unique personalised products and presenting them as gifts to relatives and friends.

Customers will be able to experience the BeautyCam’s upgraded skin analysis feature in Meitu app, which helps users to match the right products that are available at Watsons. © CK Hutchinson.

Meitu’s “Magic Mirror” will first be launched in Watsons Hong Kong’s Mongkok Bank Centre and Cameron Road branches in late-October this year, and then will be introduced to around 30 more Watsons stores in the first half of 2019. With Meitu’s facial recognition and AI analysis technology, users will be able to apply real time makeup virtually. Through big data technology, Watsons can recommend the right products based on customers’ habits and behaviour in the Meitu app, which will eventually enhance customer connectivity.

Meitu’s BeautyCam app has also been upgraded with the feature of making product recommendations via skin analysis, helping to match users with the right products that are available at Watsons. This feature will be activated in Mainland China by late-October this year while Hong Kong users can enjoy the feature in the first quarter of 2019. The BeautyCam app is a professional one-stop-solution for beauty enthusiasts to know the needs of their skin, and at the same time effectively increase the transaction value of Watsons customers.

The alliance between Meitu and Watsons China

Furthermore, Watsons China will begin its cooperation with Meitu Social Media in late-October, enabling the retailer to get closer to their target customers by delivering tailor-made messages. The cooperation not only helps Watson to reach the right audience, but also helps bringing an innovative social media experience to them.

Watsons China and Meitu will launch a joint membership eCard. © CK Hutchinson.

Watsons China will launch an official account on Meitu social media in November this year. When customers edit their photos using features like “face-lift” and “acne-removal”, Watsons will recommend products that suit each customer’s needs. This allows the retailer to match customers with the right products available at its stores, helping this way to drive consumer conversions. Through Meitu social media, Watsons can interact with users by encouraging word-of-mouth recommendations on the products offered by this retailer. As a result, users can browse hot items and related information online.

The cooperation between Watsons China’s loyalty programme and Meitu will bring mutual benefits to both parties, riding on the collective network of Meitu’s 350 million monthly active users and quality customers from Watsons online and offline channels. The strategic alliance unfolds opportunities at the time to recruit new loyalty members, and helps to push sales by recommending the right products according to big data and user habits and behaviours in the Meitu app. To attract more new members, Watsons China will promote their joint membership card through its online and offline platforms while the Meitu app will encourage its users to become Watsons members.

The agreement with Welab

The strategic collaboration with WeLab will bring a seamless sales financing and consumer lending solution to 3Shops and Fortress stores in Hong Kong and potentially to other related CK Hutchison businesses in Indonesia, Mainland China and Europe.

In addition to giving 3HK and Fortress customers the flexibility to pay for purchases in up to 60 monthly instalments, WeLend, a subsidiary of WeLab, can also instantly approve an additional cash loan for them through a real-time credit assessment using its innovative financial technology. This means that customers can access extra cash without wasting time on lengthy applications. Not only can customers shop without paying upfront, they can simultaneously satisfy their additional credit needs – creating a unique two-in-one consumer financing experience in Hong Kong. Going forward, CK Hutchison’s global retail and telecom networks can take advantage of WeLab’s advanced big data technologies in FinTech while keeping pace with evolving customer expectations on choice and experience, especially tech-savvy millennials.

Mr Canning Fok, CK Hutchison Group Co-Managing Director (left) and Mr. Simon Loong, WeLab Founder and Chief Executive Officer, officiate at the ceremony to kick off the strategic collaboration of the two companies. © CK Hutchinson.

CK Hutchison has over 17,700 telecom and retail stores worldwide, close to 130 million active mobile customers and 140 million loyal retail customers. WeLab is a leading FinTech company which has accumulated over 30 million registered users, and is a pioneer in analysing consumers’ creditworthiness based on its advanced big data analytics capabilities and innovative AI technologies. By partnering with WeLab and embracing innovative technologies, CK Hutchison customers now have an additional payment and financing option at checkout through simple transaction procedures and more flexible payment plans than ever before. The 3Money “New Phone & Cash Plan” enables customers to subscribe to tariff plans that come complete with designated latest smartphone models  without having to make payment upfront. They can also opt for an extra cash loan of up to double the total contract value. The package amounts to a new consumer financing solution that combines telecom with FinTech. “FORTRESS FlexiPay Instalment Plan” offers customers a new and flexible payment option that has a longer repayment period up to 60 months, together with instant cash loans and 5x MoneyBack Points.

From left: Mr. Kenny Koo, Hutchison Telecommunications Hong Kong Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer; Mr. Tat Lee, WeLab General Manager (Hong Kong); Mr. Dominic Lai, CK Hutchison Deputy Managing Director and AS Watson Group Managing Director; Mr. Canning Fok, CK Hutchison Group Co-Managing Director; Mr. Simon Loong, WeLab Founder and Chief Executive Officer; Mr. Kelly Wong, WeLab Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer; Mr. Frank Sixt, CK Hutchison Group Finance Director and Deputy Managing Director; Mr. KC Chan, WeLab Senior Advisor and Ms. Clarice Au, Fortress Managing Director at the CK Hutchison and WeLab Go-Global Strategic Collaboration ceremony. © CK Hutchinson.

“This is a win-win collaboration with WeLab. Through advanced FinTech, 3HK and Fortress customers will have the opportunity to buy high-end mobile devices and electronic appliances without having to make a big cash outlay upfront, and obtain a cash loan, while also having the option of an extended payment scheme, alternatives that were not available before,” said Canning Fok, CK Hutchison Group Co-Managing Director. “For our partner, WeLab will have access to a large base of credit-worthy potential clients and unprecedented business opportunities.”

Simon Loong, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of WeLab added, “We are very excited to partner with CK Hutchison and through this alliance, WeLab can extend our technology in financial innovation to offer seamless consumer experience to CK Hutchison customers globally. As a leading FinTech company in Asia, we believe this strategic alliance will strengthen our competitive advantage and footprint.”

Image over the headline.-Based on Meitu’s advanced facial recognition and AI analysis technology, “Magic Mirror” enables users to apply real time makeup virtually in Watsons Hong Kong stores from late-October 2018 onwards. © CK Hutchinson.

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