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Alibaba is testing drone delivery in China with a 3-day pilot program


February.04.2015 0 Comments

Alibaba is now in the testing phases of delivering packages by drone, according to a post on Taobao’s website (h/t 36kr). Bringing Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ dream into reality, Alibaba’s major online marketplace Taobao has partnered with Shanghai YTO Express to run a test program from February 4 to 6.

450 customers will get the chance to have their goods delivered by drone. The items on the pre-set list of available products include brown sugar, menstrual cramp relief medication, and ginger tea. Edit: An Alibaba spokesperson tells Tech in Asia the offer is limited to just a specific brand of ginger tea which contains brown sugar and is used to treat menstrual cramps. Apologies for the confusion.

Packages, which must weigh less than 340 grams, will be delivered within one hour. Customers must live within a certain radius of specific distribution sites in Guangzhou, Beijing, and Shanghai.

SF Express, another major logistics firm in China with its own fleet of scooters, vans, and airplanes, has also conducted internal drone delivery tests since 2013. However, Taobao and YTO’s pilot program looks to be the first public campaign.