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Alibaba starts drone delivery

2015-02-05 10:17 Global Times/Agencies Web Editor: Qin Dexing

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba on Wednesday tested its first drone delivery service, promising to whisk ginger tea to customers within an hour.

Alibaba's flagship consumer-to-consumer online marketplace platform taobao.com, estimated to control more than 90 percent of the Chinese market for such transactions, showed off a photo on its website of a black and silver drone with helicopter-like propellers carrying a white box to launch the service.

But the option is confined to just three days and a few areas in three Chinese mega-cities, Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, and applies only to one brand of tea from one particular vendor, with a limit of 450 deliveries in total.

Alibaba said in a statement the logistical arrangements were being handled by courier company YTO Express, which had received the necessary regulatory approvals for the trial service.

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