How to Get Fast Grocery Delivery with Alibaba's Hema App

By Bailey Hu

Weve seen the future of shopping for food in China, and its not very high-tech. Instead, businesses such as Hema Xiansheng are relying on speedy service and delivery options to keep customers coming back.

Hema (a pun for hippo, the brands mascot) is a cashless grocery chain owned by Alibaba that advertises delivery times of as low as 30 minutes.

But at the risk of sounding like an infomercial thats not all. Hemas physical locations are also a major draw, with in-house restaurants and fresh seafood that can be cooked on demand. Thats in addition to an impressive selection of both domestic and imported goods, plus cool features such as barcodes that can be scanned to reveal a products origin.

Image via @/Weibo

Like coffee delivery chain Luckin valued at USD2.2 billion in April 2019 Hemas won a loyal following thanks to unparalleled convenience. The grocery chain has over 100 stores on the Chinese mainland, and is continuing to branch out into Chinas second-tiered cities.

Already, there are 13 stores in Shenzhen and nine in Guangzhou, while Shanghai (29) and Beijing (26) have the most physical locations, according to Hemas official website. In case youre wondering how you, too, can take advantage of Hemas rapid rise, weve done the dirty work and compiled a how-to guide on ordering delivery below for purely journalistic reasons, of course.

Naturally, since its Alibaba, youll need an Alipay account to checkout.

1. Download the app

Search for on your phones app store and download it.

2. Input an address

Tap the location pin to the left of the search box from the apps main page to add an address. Select (in blue) at top right to add a new address. Input your details as shown below.

If youre having trouble saving, you might not be within delivery range. Check the listings here to find the physical store closest to you.

3. Search for groceries

Enter a keyword in Chinese into the search bar, or enter one of the main categories to browse.

From top left, the categories shown are: fresh fruit, vegetables, meat and eggs,, seafood, cooked foods, frozen foods, specialty foods, grains and oil, snacks, alcohol and drinks, healthcare goods, dairy and baked goods.

Just like with food delivery, click the plus button next to any item to add it to your cart. Once youre ready to check out, tap the cart icon at top right.

4. Check out

Select a timeframe for delivery, then tap the blue button at bottom right to check out via Alipay.

5. Wait for your delivery

Congratulations: youve officially tapped into the new age of grocery shopping in China.

[Cover image via @/Weibo]

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