In a surprise appearance at last week’s Cainiao’s Global Smart Logistics Summit, Chinese tech tycoon Jack Ma announced that Cainiao Network, the logistics affiliate of Alibaba, is going to invest more than RMB 100 billion ($15 billion) to build the technical backbone for a smart logistics network aimed at improving delivery reach and efficiency. (Read our live blog of the event for a blow-by-blow of the speech).

To emphasize the company’s commitment, the Alibaba chairman added that “We will increase the investment to several hundreds of billions RMB if that’s not enough. Alibaba will bet a vast majority of our resources on it because we believe a better logistics infrastructure network could bring fundamental changes to the manufacturing industry.“

Thanks to the exponential growth of e-commerce industry, China’s logistics landscape has undergone massive changes in recent years. Ma noted that the industry started from zero parcels generated by e-commerce to now delivering 130 million parcels per day, while there are about 5 million people working at courier and food-delivery companies in the country, and seven delivery companies have gone public.

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Emma Lee

Emma Lee is Shanghai-based tech writer, covering startups and tech happenings in China and Asia in general. We are looking for stories related to tech and China. Reach her at lixin@technode.com.