Bloomberg has a story about how Walmart, still lagging behind Amazon on the e-commerce front in the US, is ahead of the game in China, where it has developed “a big online grocery delivery business” that is “capable of transporting fresh produce from its shelves to homes within an hour. To accomplish that feat, it’s created a network of chilled mini-warehouses, used artificial intelligence to tailor inventories, and employed an army of crowdsourced deliverymen to rush meat, fruits, and vegetables to customers’ doorsteps.”

The story suggests that the Chinese experience could give Walmart the kind of “insight and experience” necessary “to keep tech upstarts from disrupting it out of one of its core U.S. businesses.”

Jennifer Bartashus, an analyst with Bloomberg Intelligence, says that “Wal-Mart’s fresh-delivery strategy in China is actually the smarter strategy than in the U.S.,” and that the Chinese model “is something they should really look at establishing in the U.S. if they want to do home deliveries properly one day.”

While Walmart has made inroads in China in terms of speed and logistics, the story does concede that only two percent of fresh food sales in China last year where made online, and that it remains just a fraction of Walmart’s total sales there.

KC's View: This is the first of three stories this morning that focus on the Amazon-Walmart/Jet battle that is shaping up, and would seem to point to the possibility that while each entity would seem to bring distinct advantages to the competition, things may not be quite as simple as they seem. In this case, the story suggests that Walmart has developed a greater e-commerce expertise outside the US than at home, but may be able to import some of that knowledge in a way that is effective.

It is important to remember that the US is not China, and that there is an enormous retail infrastructure here that may not be easily reshaped to the demands of a digital offering. But as noted here in the past, Walmart/Jet has managed to be a lot more nimble than a lot of people have expected.