Mar 11, 2021|

JD Pioneer: Bringing E-commerce to Remote Grassland


by Yuchuan Wang

Aluo, an ethnic Tibetan living in Tianjun (which literally means “steep sky”), is the only JD courier in the county.

Located in the Haixi Mongolian and Tibetan autonomous prefecture in China’s Qinghai province, Tianjun has an average altitude of 4,000 meters. Spanning an area of over 25,000 square kilometers, which is bigger than Beijing, the county has only 20,000 residents and half of its area is grassland.

Three years ago, Tianjun was a poverty-stricken county with 50% of its population being herdsmen. In 2018, JD launched a “pioneer station” in the county, as part of a program started in 2014 to bring e-commerce to remote places in China. Aluo joined JD at this point and began to deliver parcels to local people.

Tianjun has an average altitude of 4,000 meters.

Tianjun county (Source: Tianjun government website)

Aluo recalls that when the station was initially set up, there were only three to four parcels a day, and now he handles the delivery of over 100 packages daily on average. Sometimes he needs to commute 160 kilometers for a round trip to deliver a single parcel due to the vast area of Tianjun.

Eight-five percent of the county’s population are minority groups, with many people who do not speak Mandarin and do not recognize Chinese characters. Some of the elder herdsmen don’t even use mobile phones, and have never heard of the word “e-commerce”. Aluo has become the spokesperson of online shopping in Tianjun, and teaches local people how to shop on JD. So far, he has helped over 1,000 people download JD’s app.

“For those who do not recognize Chinese characters, I would help them place orders or teach their children how to use JD app,” said Aluo.

Aluo joined JD at this point and began to deliver parcels to local people.

Aluo, JD courier

The majority of the orders loaded in Aluo’s van are mobile phones and home appliances. “There are few choices in the county and prices on JD’s app are transparent,” said Aluo. “To most of the residents here, delivering a TV set in 2 days to their doorstep is incredible.”

Aluo is a pioneer for JD, a pioneer for Tianjun and a pioneer in his own life. Like many people living in the region, he was a herdsman for 10 years after he graduated from high school. He chose to change the situation and move to the county to be a courier.

“I relied on nature to feed myself in the past, but now I rely on my own hands and I have managed to get a considerable and stable income,” he said.

Aluo is one of JD’s over 500 pioneer station heads nationwide. With the expansion of JD’s business in rural areas, one-person pioneer stations have often been gradually joined by more couriers to deliver to more customers. More remote areas like Tianjun are being connected with the nation, and the world.