Chinese e-commerce firm JD.com has secured a deal with Unilever to distribute its products such as Lipton tea between warehouses in the country.
Unilever will use the retailer’s network to shift goods destined for stores between warehouses as it aims to boost sales in more remote areas of China. Unilever previously worked exclusively with standalone logistics companies for its distribution in the country.
The partnership marks an expansion of JD.com’s ‘retail as a service’ push, in which the company is offering its technology and infrastructure to other businesses outside of its own e-commerce platforms.
JD.com already provides various combinations of warehousing, transportation and inventory management software to companies including Danone and Oldenburger in China.
Unilever North Asia executive vice president Rohit Jawa said: “After working closely with JD as a retail partner, it’s clear that its logistics network and technology are unmatched.
“By opening that infrastructure to businesses outside of its own platform, JD will now help us bring our most popular products to the most hard-to-reach communities in China, securely and quickly.”
With over 500 warehouses, 7,000 delivery stations, and fleets of drones and autonomous ground vehicles, JD.com claims to be capable of delivering “over 90% of orders same or next day, with reach to 99% of China’s population”.
JD logistics CEO Zhenhui Wang said: “By investing in our own network and in innovations for e-commerce, JD has built one of the world’s most extensive and efficient supply chains.
“We believe in sharing our capabilities, because everyone, including consumers, will benefit from the transparency, speed and efficiency of modernized global commerce.”
In 2015, JD.com rival Alibaba revealed a similar deal in which it would work with Unilever to expand its distribution channels, especially for consumers in rural areas.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2019