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JD.com expands white-glove delivery service

Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com Inc. is expanding its white-glove delivery service to cover more cities and product categories, as part of an effort to target China's newly affluent consumers.

JD Luxury Express, the company's delivery service that features couriers wearing suits and white gloves, will now be available in nine cities after its initial rollout in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou in June 2017. Cities added to the service include Chengdu and Hangzhou.

Purchases of certain high-end items such as jewelry will continue to automatically qualify for white-glove delivery. Starting May 16, shoppers will also be able to use the service by paying an additional fee when buying items from more general categories such as sports, health, gifts and bags.

"We created JD Luxury Express to replicate the high-end luxury buying experience in e-commerce. But we see now there is demand for such services beyond that market," Bing Fu, head of strategy at the company's JD Logistics unit, said in a statement.

According to a survey conducted by JD, 41.5% of respondents wanted white-glove delivery, especially when buying expensive items or gifts.

The online retailer serves more than 300 million customers in China using more than 515 warehouses and a nationwide transportation network.