- May 22, 2017
JD.com to Build Largest Drone Logistics Network and R&D Campus in China
JD.com, China’s largest retailer, online or offline, has reached an agreement with the provincial government of Shaanxi to build China’s largest low-altitude drone logistics network.
Spanning a 300 kilometer radius, the network will include hundreds of routes and drone air bases throughout the entire province for e-commerce shipments and more. Heavy-load drones are expected to be able to carry more than a ton, transporting high-quality products to remote areas and agricultural produce to cities.
“JD.com will be the first in the world to test drone delivery on this scale. We envision a network that will be able to efficiently transport goods between cities, and even between provinces, in the future,” said Wang Zhenhui, CEO of JD Logistics, the company’s newly-formed logistics business group.
As JD Logistics explores ways to provide its services to shippers and other partners, including international logistics providers, the company’s state-of-the art logistics technology will become increasingly important to the global logistics industry. “This is a milestone not only for JD, but for the entire transportation industry as we extend our logistics services to other shippers on and off of JD.com,” Wang said.
JD.com will also establish a research and development campus in partnership with the Xi’an National Civil Aerospace Industrial Base (XCAIB), where unmanned systems will be developed, manufactured and tested. The campus will be the first of its kind in China, and will include a global headquarters for JD Logistics, a center for unmanned systems, and a facility for JD’s cloud computing and big data operations. XCAIB will provide 5 kilometers of pipeline airspace, 1,500 square-meters of drone R&D space, and more than 30 acres for flight tests, greatly increasing JD’s drone testing and deployment capabilities.
The partnership is expected to help promote economic development in Shaanxi by providing more high-tech employment and modernize industries in the region.
For JD.com, it represents a major step in the company’s ambitions for its logistics business. The company currently operates the largest e-commerce logistics infrastructure in China. JD, which now has more than 236 million customers, began developing its own logistics network in 2007 because existing infrastructure in China wasn’t sufficient to achieve consistent, high-quality delivery service of products to customers around the country.
Today, JD.com has nationwide network of automated fulfillment centers, hundreds of warehouses and thousands of delivery stations, covering 98% of China’s population. With more than 65,000 delivery personnel, JD.com is able to provide same- or next-day delivery service to a population of 600 million.