Jul 17, 2018|

JD.com Turns to High-Speed Rail for Delivery of Exotic Mushrooms

China’s largest retailer JD.com has launched a new initiative which combines the forces of China’s high-speed rail network and JD’s sophisticated cold chain technology to deliver matsutake mushrooms, a prized ingredient from Yunnan, to its customers.

JD’s use of high speed rail provides many advantages when it comes to minimizing travel time between the source of the food’s production and the customer’s door

The provision of fresh food to consumers is naturally a task which is highly time sensitive, and JD’s use of high speed rail provides many advantages when it comes to minimizing travel time between the source of the food’s production and the customer’s door. China is home to one of the most advanced high-speed rail networks in the world, with over 20,000km in high-speed rail lines designed for speeds of 250-350km/h – more than the rest of the world combined. The high-speed rail delivery service, which JD already uses for delivery of some high value and time-urgent products, like luxury products, will link up with the uber-efficient JD Logistics network and be taken from a special area within high-speed rail stations in major Chinese cities, directly to the customer.

The innovative new delivery service will begin in July, delivering matsutake mushrooms native to China’s southwestern Yunnan province to cities across China. Matsutake (also called ‘pine mushrooms’ or ‘songrong’ in Chinese) are a rare and expensive ingredient used in many east Asian cuisines and in Chinese traditional medicine. JD will supply matsutake to individuals as well as businesses, part of the company’s growing Retail as a Service, or RaaS business. The company will deliver matsutake to the high-end restaurants nationwide as it expands beyond the consumer retail business. JD is increasingly offering its technology and infrastructure to partners and shippers beyond its own platform, as part of its Retail as a Service (RaaS) strategy.

The mushrooms will be loaded into a special stocking area on the high-speed train in Kunming, Yunnan and delivered by rail to one of six Chinese cities: Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Wuhan, Nanjing and Chengdu. Thanks to the advantages offered by high-speed rail, JD will be able to guarantee delivery within 48 hours of placing an order. It is also environmentally friendly, fitting in with JD’s broader push to make commerce more environmentally sustainable.

“Consumers see JD.com as the optimum method of purchasing their fresh produce,” said Hui Wang, vice president of JD.com, head of the delivery department at JD Logistics. “This innovative combination of China’s ultra-efficient high-speed rail network and JD’s cold chain technology means we can now transport fresh food from wherever it is produced to the homes of consumers in record time, while retaining the food’s all-important freshness.”

The high-speed rail fresh food delivery service forms a new part of JD’s cold chain logistics network –the largest e-commerce home delivery service in China and the only one in the world that is operated in-house by a large-scale e-commerce company, down to the last mile. JD also built the first highly automated cold chain sorting center in Beijing this year, which can sort up to 108,000 orders per day.

Chinese consumers are increasingly turning to e-commerce for their fresh food needs. In 2017, the amount of fresh produce bought online was worth 140 billion RMB, an increase of 59% YOY on the previous year. To keep up with this demand, the number fresh goods available on the JD platform increased by 300% and the company’s specialized fresh food delivery service now covers over 300 cities across China.