Chinese e-commerce company JD.com has revealed the country’s first operational pilot program for drone deliveries, as tech firms compete to reach the country’s untapped rural consumers.

A JD spokesperson confirmed with Technode that the company is using at least two types of UAVs to deliver packages between designated distribution centers in rural areas outside of Suqian in northeast China.

The drones are capable of autonomously loading and unloading packages, and a single flight route manages up to 200 packages a day. The company uses one type of drone for longer-distance deliveries and another to carry heavier packages over short distances.

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Cate Cadell

Cate is a tech writer. She worked as a journalist in Australia, Mongolia and Myanmar. You can reach her (in Chinese or English) at: @catecadell or catecadell@technode.com