BEIJING: As the Chinese ecommerce market becomes ever more competitive, Tmall is stepping up its challenge to rivals by launching an online grocery promotional campaign worth Rmb 1bn ($161m).

Aimed at persuading its users in Beijing to take advantage of same-day delivery services, Tmall's campaign follows its partnership with logistics firm Cainiao, a fellow subsidiary of Alibaba Group.

Describing online grocery shopping as "a strategic area of interest", Alibaba said in a statement that Tmall Supermarket will run promotions three times a day up until 31st July.

Beijing internet users are being offered the chance to win so-called "red packets" that they can use to get discounts on their grocery purchases. Also, same-day delivery is being offered to users who place orders before 11am.

"Tmall Supermarket will draw on Alibaba Group's complete ecommerce ecosystem," explained Jeff Zhang, president of Alibaba Group's China Retail Marketplaces.

He said Alibaba's advantages in logistics, strength in online payments, big data and cloud computing would bring consumers "the most convenient and secure online shopping experience for quality products".

Citing research from McKinsey, the management consultancy, Alibaba said 40% of Chinese consumers have used the internet to buy food.

The company also claimed that, in the past year alone, merchandise volumes for Tmall Supermarket in the Beijing area increased more than 700% as 90% of consumers shopped via their mobile phones.

The initiative comes just a few days after Alibaba announced that it is forming a strategic partnership with Unilever to promote the FMCG giant's brands to more Chinese consumers.

The offer to Beijing online shoppers also mirrors activity by rival Amazon, which has been rapidly expanding its same-day delivery service to selected US cities.

Data sourced from Alibaba, Business Wire, CNET; additional content by Warc staff