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Alibaba's drone delivers in 3 Chinese cities

2015-02-05 13:32 Shanghai Daily Web Editor: Qin Dexing

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

The experience, however, is confined to just three days and covers a few areas of three cities — Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou — with a total of 450 deliveries.

The Chinese e-commerce giant launched the three-day test by partnering Shanghai YTO Express Logistics Co on its flagship consumer-to-consumer Taobao Marketplace, according to an statement filed on microblogging site Sina Weibo.

Alibaba said in a statement that the logistical arrangements were being handled by YTO Express, which had got the necessary regulatory approval for the trial service, said an AFP report.

"Drone technology has developed rapidly the last few years. A large scale application of drone delivery could possibly change the logistics services, that's why YTO wants to seize the chance," YTO Express said yesterday.

The flights, if successful, would boost the budding commercial drone industry in China.

Amazon has begun testing remote deliveries in the US. It has asked the Federal Aviation Administration to speed up approvals for commercial drone tests in Washington state.

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