AI and AGV for Global Shopping Festival: Cainiao  is Ready


Alibaba Group’s 11.11 Global Shopping Festival last year brought $25.3 billion in gross merchandise volume. In 2018 edition Hangzhou based e-commerce giant is ready to break a new record


Just a few days away from the Alibaba Group Global Shopping Festival, to be held on November 11th. This event, as far as the turnover is concerned, is really important. Suffice it to say that the Alibaba event is more than twice the size of Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined. In fact, last year, the one-day event brought 25.3 billion dollars in volume of gross merchandise.

But how can all these goods sold, be shipped and delivered efficiently? As for last year, this year the delivery of goods will be the task of the company, majority owned by Alibaba, Cainiao.

To meet the challenge, Cainiao is developing a series of initiatives and preparing a series of advanced technologies. Cainiao Vice President Ben Wang said: “Consumers increasingly want faster, better delivery, so that’s what we’re doing. This year, we’re striving to achieve a new high, leveraging the beauty of scale and technology”.

In 2017, the smart logistics company delivered 812 million orders, Cainiao uses 700 robots called automated guided vehicles to fulfill orders.


Currently Cainiao is at the forefront of the logistics world. The company, in fact, recently opened the biggest automated warehouse in China, in the eastern city of Wuxi, Jiangsu, which it is part of the company’s first Future Park, a logistics complex run by Internet of Things applications, big data, edge computing and artificial intelligence.

The system directs the AGVs to drive, load and unload while planning the best routes to distribute parcels and avoid collision. The robots allow for 50% more orders to be processed within a given time period than a traditional warehouse, Cainiao said.

The company is currently concentrating its efforts on improving efficiency and reducing the timing of logistics processes. Among the most interesting new projects is that of Sky Eye, a cloud-based video monitoring system that will be used by Cainiao’s logistics partners for 11.11 this year.

In addition, Cainiao has partnered with 15 major Chinese express-courier companies to crunch logistics data so that manpower and transportation are used more efficiently in the 200,000 delivery stations being used for to support 11.11.


For Alibaba’s logistics affiliate, Cainiao Logistics, the tsunami of online purchases generated on Nov. 11 by millions of Chinese consumers is an annual stress-test of the resiliency and scalability of its groundbreaking parcel-delivery network: “bonded warehouses” is the solution.


2018 Double 11” edition will be a worldwide event where AliExpress and Tmall World are taking on a bigger role in this year’s 11.11. In expectation of an increase in cross-border shipments in other countries, Cainiao has chartered almost 50 flights to Western Europe, Russia and Southeast Asia, as well as about 1,000 shipping containers set for buyers in countries such as Indonesia or Malaysia and other destinations by sea.

On the inbound side, Cainiao has prepared bonded warehouses across China that cover over 1 million square meters. That’s up 80% from last year, the company said. The bonded warehouses, which house specific products that have been given preferential tax treatment by the Chinese government, will be used to store right goods at warehouses nearest to the consumers most likely to order them, which helps to cut delivery times.

2018 will also be the first time that goods ordered during 11.11 are delivered directly from stores to customers, a sign that New Retail advances continue to play a role in the Festival. Short-distance delivery services will be available in over 280 cities.



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