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Alibaba introduces half-day delivery service

Cainiao Network, the logistics company behind Chinese tech titan Alibaba, has introduced its half-day express delivery service in Beijing.
Cainiao Network, the logistics company behind Chinese tech titan Alibaba, has introduced its half-day express delivery service in Beijing.

Cainiao Network, the logistics company behind Chinese tech titan Alibaba, has introduced its half-day express delivery service in Beijing.

We know that ultra-fast delivery (typically under 1-hour) has a tumultuous past, with many startups failing in the segment. Half-day express may be more manageable considering the needs of online shoppers. 

Alibaba heating up

In a partnership with Tmall Supermarket, Cainiao Network has committed to delivering orders placed before noon during the same afternoon. Similarly, orders placed before midnight will reach doorsteps before noon the following day. 

This streamlined approach is designed to cater to the ever-increasing demands of online shoppers.

The ripple effect of this service expansion has reached 20 major cities in China, including metros like Hangzhou, Shanghai, Chengdu, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen. This ensures that a significant portion of the Chinese population can expect half-day deliveries on online orders.

Cainiao’s IPO

It’s worth noting that this milestone follows Cainiao’s recent filing for an initial public offering on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. 

If successful, this move will mark a historic moment for Cainiao, becoming the first Alibaba business unit to go public after a major restructuring. This step underscores Alibaba’s commitment to innovation and sets the stage for further advancements in e-commerce and logistics.

As consumers gear up for the upcoming shopping event called Singles Day (November 11), a day when single people are celebrated, Alibaba’s Cainiao Network stands ready. Its new half-day delivery service is prepared to serve people in the region. 

The story of ultra-fast deliveries

During the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, ultra-fast delivery services became a booming industry, with numerous startups emerging to meet the demand for quick grocery deliveries within 10 minutes. 

Many of these companies have faced challenges and undergone significant changes in the four years since. Several startups, including Milkrun, Voly, and Send, quickly exited the scene, with similar models competing for the same market. Joker, Buyk, Fridge No More, and others shut down in the US in 2021. Even established players like Postmates survived for a decade before being acquired by Uber. 

Amidst these closures, major players such as InstaCart, Uber Eats, GoPuff, Getir, and Glovo have managed to sustain their presence. The concept of ultra-fast deliveries, promising delivery within half an hour, primarily involves grocery and convenience stores with nearby micro-warehouses. 

While the service sounds appealing, its complex logistics often pose challenges for these startups. Despite ongoing demand in densely populated metropolitan areas, the ultra-fast delivery model remains a service accessible only to a select elite due to its intricate and costly execution.

About the author

Marce has contributed tech to various prominent publications since 2018, offering a transparent perspective into the tech industry and its effects on its users. She now spends her time developing insightful content for industry players. You know, when she's not gaming or geeking out about the latest fad.

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