17:52 GMT +318 January 2020
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    The state-owned oil and gas corporation is moving away from is core business in the wake of falling gas prices, with the opening of internet retail services selling a range of products.

    The China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation, also known as Sinopec, has opened an online convenience store hosted by Alibaba and selling a range of products including gourmet foods and tourist packages. The move signals a change in focus from its current core business in the production, refining and supply of oil products.

    On the new site, which is hosted on Alibaba's Taobao.com portal, consumers are able to purchase a range of products originating in China's Mount Wuyi region, from food and drink, to handicrafts and tourist packages.

    According to a statement from the company, the products can be ordered over the internet for delivery, or picked up at a one of Sinopec's 30,000 gas stations, which are planned to serve in the future as convenience stores and logistics terminals for the company's consumer products.

    Later in the year, said Sinopec Chairman Fu Chengyu, the company plans to extend its services to include online finance, and the automobile sector, as part of the company's drive to become an "integrated service provider." 

    Sinopec is, with PetroChina, one of China's top two state-owned energy companies, and one of the world's biggest companies by revenue. For the last ten years it has come first in the list of Top 500 Chinese Enterprises, compiled by the China Enterprise Confederation.

    The launch of the new site come at the same time as reports of a long-term restructuring plan undertaken by the firm, which will see as many as 300,000 of the company's current staff of 920,000 cut from the workforce by 2020. A spokesman for Sinopec gave assurance that being a state-owned company, the restructuring would not entail job losses, but that employees would instead be reassigned to different positions.


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