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Cainiao Network digitizing China last-mile delivery

30,000 community post stations in 100 cities to fuel local entrepreneurship

Cainiao Smart Logistics Network, (“Cainiao Network”), the logistics arm of Alibaba Group Holding Limited, announced plans to launch 30,000 community post stations known as “Cainiao Post” in 100 Chinese cities to digitize the last-mile delivery.

Cainiao Post stations will be situated in and managed by local communities and play a fundamental role in digitizing communities by providing consumer services such as courier service, parcel storage, group buys and returns.

Cainiao also announced the launch of a career-support program to stimulate community job creation. Successful applicants will be able to enjoy a waiver of Cainiao Post’s partnership fee and receive support for the deployment of digital systems. It also introduced value-added services such as group buys and laundry services to help Cainiao Post managers increase their revenue while providing additional cost savings for the community. As of May 2020, Cainiao has received over 100 million applications to join the network, of which over 50% comprises a younger generation of aspiring entrepreneurs.

The Cainiao Post stations will adopt new technologies, including facial recognition for contactless parcel mailing and collection, electronic shipping labels to facilitate real-time tracking, autonomous vehicles for contactless last-mile delivery that promises greater security and efficiency and 24/7 cloud-based surveillance in the stations for enhanced security.

Cainiao’s President Lin WAN, emphasized the critical role that last-mile delivery and community facilities play in the future of smart logistics: “The pandemic and nationwide lockdown have revealed numerous vulnerabilities within the logistics value chain. Currently, the extent of digitization is still insufficient, and this limited the agility of the value chain when the crisis hit. In the area of last-mile logistics, contactless pickup and community facilities need to be further developed for businesses and consumers to reap the full benefits of a digitized logistics supply chain. Most importantly, a strong digital foundation is essential to drive greater efficiency and seamless connectivity, which will ensure continuity even during periods of disruptions.”

According to China’s State Post Bureau, China’s daily courier delivery volume is approximately 250 million parcels, with 7.3 billion parcels in May 2020 alone1. In parallel, Cainiao Post’s daily parcel volume achieved 100% year-on-year growth in March and based on China Post’s estimates, the nation’s total courier volume is set to exceed 74 billion packages this year.

Despite placing immense pressure on existing infrastructure, the rapid development also paves the way for greater digitization of community networks which will culminate in lower capital outlay for entrepreneurs, and in the long run, a stable career path for the workforce.

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