Beijing: China’s biggest Internet retailer Alibaba is revealed that they have begun testing drone-based deliveries to hundreds of their customers.
Their trial on this facility is expected to last for three days while the supply is being limited to areas around the one-hour flight of its distribution centers located in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.
The company’s blog has pointed out that the technology behind the drone activities has the potential to speed up the deliveries further.
Amazon, Google and parcel service UPS are the other prominent companies that carry out more private trials on such drone airborne supply.
Alibaba has been using its drones for delivering orders for a specific type of ginger tea package having a maximum weight of 340g (12oz).
Tech in Asia blog was the first to report developments regarding drone tests.
According to them the experiment regarding the system was being undertaken by Alibaba’s Taobao division which is an eBay-like marketplace that connects third-party sellers and buyers, including 450 shoppers.
Paul Bischoff of Tech in Asia told BBC that, in-spite of it’s very limited scope, Taobao has been delivering real goods to real people and at the same time this service is a step further than its Western counterpart Amazon.
In 2013, a much smaller Chinese company known as the ‘In Cake Bakery’ had begun the delivery of cakes to customers in Shanghai using remote-controlled drones.
However, the trade was quickly halted by a local aviation defender, for operating the system without a proper license.
In US, Google is being forced to carry out its own drone delivery tests in Australia following the restrictions on drones.
Alibaba’s founder, Jack Ma, has said that his aim is to expand the operations of his company across the globe to achieve the expected target of two billion customers by 2025.
In 2014, the company has raised a record $25bn (£16.4bn) when it listed its shares on the New York Stock Exchange.
However, its ambitions were threatened last week by a high-profile issue when one of China’s regulators alleged that Alibaba had not employed enough alternatives to tackle the sale of imitative goods on Taobao and allowed such symptoms to maturate until it become dangerous.
Mr Ma later said that the actions of the regulator were not supported by certain government officials, and indicated that the matter had been resolved.
The tests will provide Taobao a chance to generate more positive headlines.
But one expert said that it would be wrong to dismiss them as a PR stunt, even if the drone-based deliveries were still years away from becoming a real dream.
Video on the drone delivery trials in China