Cainiao, Alibaba Group’s logistics affiliate, is expanding its role in China’s nascent online supermarket sector with the establishment of a grocery distribution center in the southwestern Chinese city of Chengdu.
Announced today by Cainiao, the Chengdu distribution center will support next-day delivery of fast-moving consumer goods purchased through Alibaba’s Tmall Supermarket by online shoppers in Chengdu and Chongqing. Cainiao said the center will allow it to gradually expand grocery delivery to other cities in southwestern China in coming months.
After years of limited success, online supermarkets are starting to catch on in some parts of the world. Adoption is particularly strong in China, according to a recent report from The Nielsen Company. Nielsen surveys show 46 percent of Chinese consumers say they order groceries online and have them delivered to their homes.
Cainiao, in which Alibaba has a 48 percent stake, operates a central logistics information system connecting a network of express delivery companies in China. As the popularity of online grocery shopping among Chinese consumers grows, the company has been supporting Tmall’s supermarket shopping channel by facilitating faster delivery of food purchases to more parts of the country. The Chengdu grocery distribution center is Cainiao’s sixth, including existing ones in Tianjin, Shanghai, Suzhou, Guangzhou and Jinyi.
“As Chinese consumers embrace the idea of buying groceries online, we hope to give them a convenient and smooth experience where the goods can be delivered to their doorsteps within days or even hours,” said Duan Zhiguo, head of Cainiao’s supermarket logistics department.
Cainiao said its network can now provide grocery delivery to Tmall shoppers in more than 250 cities across 25 provinces. The company plans to offer next-day grocery delivery in 50 cities by the end of 2015, covering a population of more than 100 million.