Hong Kong trading and supply chain management major Fung Group has signed a number of partnerships with start-ups, incubators and venture capitalists as part of a revamp of its Explorium project.

The omni-channel retail lab was launched in Shanghai in September 2015 in partnership with data and analytics technology leader IBM, and brand activation company Pico. Located within more than 23,000 sq m (nearly 250,000 sq ft) of trade exhibition space at LiFung Plaza, the platform provides a controlled setting for businesses to observe and explore in real time how consumers interact with new technologies, products and environments.

Fung Group launches omnichannel retail lab

Now, the company has launched Explorium 2.0 with the aim of creating a smart supply-chain system, with the vision to strengthen China's global economic competitiveness.

Building on the learnings from Explorium 1.0, and in alignment with the Fung Group's strategic vision to build the supply chain of the future, the Explorium 2.0 ecosystem will be creating more business value with the help of a global supply chain and retail reach, the firm says.

It will also be a platform empowering innovative start-ups that aim to boost national and global supply-chain services. It has a strong focus on collaborative innovation with various partnerships, including Microsoft Accelerator, TechNode and the Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology.

Attractions at the Explorium include some some 6,400sq m of co-working space given over to incubator activity and related support services; a fabric library for apparel manufacturing, equipped with the latest digital tools for 3D product rendering and virtual sampling, and a 3D-printing experimentation platform based on the premise that, in the future, 80% of a product will be mass-produced and the remaining 20% will be customisable. Also included is a multifunction space for product launches, demos and sample sales, and showrooms for Macy's China—a joint venture between Macy's and Fung Retailing Limited.

The company has also joined hands with a raft of venture capitals, including ZhenFund, SB China Capital, Gobi Partners, Yunqi Partners and Cherubic Ventures, for its global smart supply-chain ecosystem.

"New retail, utilising emerging technologies such as big data and artificial intelligence (AI), is transforming the way a product is designed and sold," Dr Victor K. Fung, group chairman of the Fung Group said at the launch ceremony. "China is one of the most challenging markets in the world, and Shanghai is a city with the most advanced mobile technologies and technology-sensitive consumers. The Explorium 2.0 ecosystem will be creating more business value with the help of the global supply chain."

Explorium 2.0 will combine emerging technologies with innovative business models, empower research and development, and provide the most advanced supply-chain solutions to enterprises.