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Alibaba's Cainiao pledges to drive digitization in China's shipping industry

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.'s logistics affiliate Cainiao Smart Logistics Network Ltd. aims to create 50 billion yuan of value in the domestic shipping industry over the next three years through a large-scale digitization program, according to a May 29 post on the company's news site Alizila.

At Cainiao's annual industry summit in Hangzhou, Alibaba CEO and Cainiao Chairman Daniel Zhang reportedly said moving beyond e-shipping labels and building digital infrastructure across the logistics value chain is essential to pushing the industry forward.

"Digitizing parcels is not enough. We are working with partners to digitize warehouses, equipment, transportation vehicles [and] warehouse pickers' handheld devices," said Zhang.

Cainiao plans to upgrade technologies and services, including rolling out a new internet of things platform, across the country. The company said it aims to connect 100 million smart devices to its IoT platform to enable industry partners and developers to share information seamlessly. This will also assist them in setting standardized protocols to deploy IoT services at scale, the company said.

Cainiao will continue with its plan to expand its Cainiao Post pick-up stations to 100,000 locations over the next three years.

The company said it will set up 50,000 recycling stations for unwanted shipping boxes at its delivery points across China by the end of 2019. It expects to reuse more than 100 million boxes every year in collaboration with other delivery companies including STO Express Co. Ltd., Yunda Express, YTO Express Group Co. Ltd., ZTO Express (Cayman) Inc. and Best Express.

"By further enhancing our consumer services, last-mile and IoT technologies and capabilities, we hope to help China's logistics sector to deliver on a larger scale while reducing costs and impact on the environment," said Wan Lin, president of Cainiao.

As of May 29, US$1 was equivalent to 6.91 yuan.