Cainiao Network, the logistics arm of Alibaba Group, announced its first Cainiao Post network outside Mainland China, in Hong Kong.
The newly launched network will comprise 10 Cainiao Post stations and 60 Cainiao designated collection points to streamline last-mile logistics for consumers in Hong Kong.
E-commerce sales in Hong Kong is forecasted to register a strong growth of 11.1 percent in 2021 as consumers increasingly opt for online purchases. To keep pace with e-commerce demand while ensuring efficient delivery to consumers, there is a growing need for optimised last-mile logistics and seamless integration throughout the logistics chain.
Established in Mainland China in 2013, Cainiao Post aims to be the logistics platform that integrates resources and alleviate last-mile logistics pain points, including increased complexity and demand on courier services. Through the partners and couriers network, Cainiao Post is able to offer couriers cost-and time-efficient delivery options based on real-time data determining the optimum service and route for the particular job. Post stations situated in, and managed by local communities, play a fundamental role in digitising communities by providing merchants and consumers with courier service, parcel storage, and returns. In Mainland China, the number of packages handled by Cainiao Post stations has increased by over 100 per cent year-on-year as of March 2020.
With its presence in Hong Kong, Cainiao plans to expand the network multifold to cover a combined floorspace of over 4000 square meters, supporting approximately 1.8 million Hong Kong consumers. In addition, Cainiao will introduce additional customer-centric services at a later stage to provide greater value and enhance overall shopping experience.
This launch is in line with Cainiao’s plans to speed up the digitisation of China’s logistics industry and establish greater standardisation and digitalisation protocols to help logistics firms deploy IoT (Internet of Things) solutions at scale. To enhance productivity, Cainiao Post stations, both Cainiao-operated and partner-operated, will incorporate the latest logistics technologies into their operations to facilitate inventory management, parcel collection and real-time parcel tracking. The logistics operating procedure will also be standardised across stations to create a unified experience and improve the ease of self-collection for consumers. Business training programs will also be available to partners to upgrade their management abilities and ensure they meet the service benchmark put forth by Cainiao.
“The pandemic has brought to light many vulnerabilities and issues within the logistics value chain. The current extent of digitisation is still in the early stages, with room for further transformation to enhance agility and efficiency. With a strong digital foundation, coupled with a robust partner and courier network, Cainiao can help the industry drive greater efficiency and seamless connectivity, alleviating pain points in last-mile delivery, a key component of logistics within Hong Kong’s Four Pillar Industries. Furthermore, our merchants will be able to benefit from Cainiao’s scale, standardisation, hyper-localised operations and in-depth market knowledge,” Rex Lin, Head of Cainiao Post (Hong Kong), Cainiao Network.
In line with the Cainiao Post strategy in Mainland China, the global logistics company encourages aspiring entrepreneurs to apply to join the network and operate one of its post stations. This form of entrepreneurism has taken off in Mainland China and is deemed to be a lower risk venture in part due to its ability to leverage the broader Alibaba ecosystem, specifically the parcel volume and human traffic that it can generate for the station managers.
Last June, Cainiao Post announced its expansion plans to add another 30,000 stations in 100 Chinese cities to encourage community job creation. The career-support program received over 1 million applications within a month, with over 50 percent from a younger generation of aspiring entrepreneurs.
Successful applicants enjoyed a waiver of Cainiao Post’s partnership fee and received support for the deployment of digital systems.