JD.com, China’s leading e-commerce player, wants to help Beijing have a clearer sky by Chinese New Year through electrifying its delivery vans.

“We are partnering with the world’s top research institutes so that every operational stage of JD meets the sustainability standard,” JD’s founder and CEO Richard Liu said on his Toutiao account (in Chinese) on December 8. “Meanwhile, JD promises to turn 100% of its delivery vans in Beijing into electric cars. This will be our contribution to solving Beijing’s air pollution problem.”

The Chinese authority has been keen to electrify the nation’s vehicles as public resentment intensifies due to poor air quality. The electrification movement is also part of the top leaders’ plan to turn China into a high-tech global leader. Generous subsidies have been allocated to both public and private players in the electric vehicle sector.

The country’s tech companies are partnering with traditional carmakers to jump on the EV bandwagon as well as meeting industry requirements. In October, JD’s logistics unit led a group of electric carmakers to form the “New Energy Industry Alliance” (our translation of 新能源产业联盟). Cainiao Network, the logistics arm of Alibaba, unveiled in May its smart delivery initiative (in Chinese) in collaboration with several Chinese carmakers including SAIC Motor and Dongfeng.

Chinese consumers are also increasingly wary of delivery waste. In September, China saw its first environmental lawsuit against food delivery services over the wasteful use of utensils, and the case has subsequently led to positive changes in industry practices. JD and Alibaba also want to cut down on packaging wastes. On December 7, JD rolled out its recyclable “green box” and claimed to be the first in the industry to work with a third-party professional recycling organization. Last June, Cainiao announced its “green package” initiative and by September 5, the platform claims to have delivered 3 million of them (in Chinese).

rita liao

Rita Liao

Telling the uncommon China stories through tech. I can be reached at ritacyliao [at] gmail [dot] com.

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