While the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration recently announced new regulations for commercial drones which is not bringing package deliveries any closer, online Chinese retailer JD.com successfully used drones to deliver packages to rural areas in the northern Jiangsu provice. The drones can make deliveries up to 15 Kilograms each, fly up to 10 kilometers, and manage up to 200 packages per day, as well as load and unload packages autonomously. Packages will not be delivered directly to houses, instead packages will be delivered to local village delivery-men who manage the final package delivery.
Xiao Jun, who is in charge of JD’s x Lab:
With the help of drones, rural shoppers can enjoy the efficiency and convenience of online shopping just like those in mega cities in China. And for us, using drones can significantly reduce delivery cost.
Rural China holds promise for eCommerce with roughly 600 million rural Chinese whose wages are rising and have increased access to the internet. Until recently, rural consumers were vastly under-served by eCommerce companies due to a logistics infrastructure that was too difficult and expensive to properly service. Drones could become an important piece of the logistics infrastructure in rural China.