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Alibaba logistics arm to enlarge global footprint

By FAN FEIFEI CHINA DAILY Updated: 2023-07-22
An employee arranges packages at a Cainiao Network logistics center in Guadalajara, Spain. [Photo/Xinhua]

Cainiao Group, the logistics arm of Chinese tech heavyweight Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, will speed up efforts to build global logistics networks and expand its footprint in Europe, North America and Southeast Asia, its top executive said on Friday, as the company looks to establish more local warehousing and distribution centers.

The company will further improve its global delivery services and deepen logistics capabilities in key overseas markets as part of its go-global push, said Wan Lin, CEO of Cainiao.

"The next decade will usher in new development opportunities for smart logistics, and Cainiao will build a leading global smart logistics network encompassing domestic, cross-border and overseas logistics, as well as last-mile deliveries and logistics technology," Wan said.

Cainiao is strengthening overseas expansion plans in collaboration with AliExpress, the business-to-customer platform of Alibaba that sells consumer goods to overseas markets, for a global delivery service that pledges to deliver cross-border parcels within five working days.

The move will speed up deliveries by an average 30 percent compared to the industry standard.

The company has developed global logistics infrastructure by expanding its overseas distribution centers to 18, as well as by establishing overseas warehouses, and self-operated distribution and pickup facilities.

Cainiao recently announced the launch of weekend delivery and same-city delivery services in Spain's major cities to optimize local logistics experiences.

Data from the company showed that the cross-border parcel volume in Spain increased by more than 60 percent in June compared with the same period last year.

The company's logistics network covers over 30 cities in Spain, with cities like Madrid and Barcelona achieving next-day delivery. It has also established overseas logistics infrastructure, including overseas warehouses, automated sorting centers, distribution stations and self-pickup lockers in Spain.

Zhang Zhouping, a senior analyst tracking business-to-business and cross-border activities at the Internet Economy Institute, said establishing logistics infrastructure overseas helps in improving delivery efficiency, safeguarding the stability and security of supply chains, and boosting the development of the cross-border e-commerce sector.

In April, Cainiao signed a strategic partnership with Brazil Post, the national postal service of Brazil, to deepen collaboration in international express and logistics technology.

The two companies agreed to cooperate in fields such as global air cargo, local logistics infrastructure and digital logistics technology, strengthen the construction of express delivery networks in Brazil, as well as jointly optimize the import and export logistics services.

Chinese logistics companies are stepping up efforts to invest in overseas warehouses and delivery networks.

This is not only helping promote Chinese brands and products globally and enhancing the competitiveness of Chinese foreign trade enterprises, but also introducing a large number of overseas products to Chinese consumers, said Lu Zhenwang, CEO of Wanqing Consultancy, which is based in Shanghai.

JD Logistics, a unit of Chinese e-commerce platform JD, is also building logistics infrastructure abroad.

It plans to build more warehouses in the Americas, Europe, Southeast Asia, Australia and the Middle East, where Chinese enterprises are stepping up efforts to expand business activities in line with the rising reach of e-commerce services.