With fewer than one out of every three residents using the internet, China’s less affluent rural areas, home to an estimated 600 million people, are considered to be one of the PRC’s next great e-commerce growth opportunities. Getting a population made up largely of farmers to shop and sell online is full of challenges, however, not the least of which is figuring out how to deliver goods to and from remote villages and population centers that lack the sophisticated infrastructure of China’s modern coastal metropolitan centers.
To help tie underdeveloped parts of China more closely to the country’s dynamic economy, e-commerce giant Alibaba Group and its logistics arm Cainiao launched an ambitious program to radically improve delivery networks reaching rural areas. The program isn’t limited to small parcels, either. Watch this video to see how Alibaba and Cainiao facilitated the shipment of an 18-meter fiberglass dragon boat built in the city of Foshan in Guangdong Province to Luotang Village in Guizhou Province—a 1,000-kilometer journey completed in just two days (which incidentally is the shipping time Amazon offers free to U.S. consumers who sign up for its Prime membership plan).