That China has already beaten the US with cashier-less stores is indicative of just how quickly the Chinese market moves: Cashier-less stores are “so last year”, according to Peking University professor Jeffrey Towson.

“Cashier-less stores were 2017. They (the Chinese) have prototyped these. They’ve figured it out: you walk in, it scans your face, you take what you want,” said the investment advisor and China expert at the #Ready summit in Singapore.

But although China’s economic slowdown continues, the demise of consumer spending in the world’s biggest market is overblown: 2018 Singles’ Day event cemented a new record of US$30.8 billion (213.5 billion yuan) in sales for Alibaba globally and was up 20% on 2017’s total. In fact, the shopping festival took less than ten minutes to surpass Amazon Prime Day 2018’s entire estimated takings of about US$4.2 billion.

Competing e-commerce giant Jingdong (also known as JD.com) is also doing well: “Their revenue is ten times what it was five years ago,” Towson said.