Alibaba Wants to Use Rockets to Deliver Parcels Globally

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (NYSE: BABA) is considering the feasibility of using rockets to deliver parcels across the globe with extremely quick turnarounds. The company has partnered with Space Epoch, a startup rocket provider based in Beijing, to test out the unconventional delivery service.

Dubbed XYZ-1, Alibaba’s delivery rocket would be able to carry up to 10 tons in cargo and would feature around 120 square meters of cargo, enough to carry items as large as cars or small trucks. If the rocket delivery service launches successfully, it would allow Alibaba to deliver cargo anywhere in the world in just an hour “in the near future.”

Beijing-based startup Space Epoch has already completed three rounds of funding and raised more than $41.5 million from investors such as Jinsha Capital and SBR Vision Capital. Space Epoch was founded in 2019 and claims to use space resources to sustainably, safely and efficiently meet “flight-like, civilian demands.”

The space provider said in a recent post on WeChat that it has teamed up with Alibaba subsidiary Taobao to develop a reusable rocket capable of landing anywhere on the sea. Alibaba also confirmed the partnership and noted that “many great endeavors” often look comical at first, underscoring the ambitiousness of the rocket delivery service project. Similarly, Space Epoch acknowledged the immense scope of the project and said completing it in the short-term would not be easy.

Despite Alibaba’s dominance in the Chinese and global e-commerce space, the company has been subject to significant competition both at home and in foreign markets. Consequently, the company has gone to great lengths to bolster its logistics services across most major markets.

In the United States, for instance, the online retailer’s expanded “five-day delivery” service allows American buyers to make orders and receive their goods within only five days by leveraging Cainiao Smart Logistics Network, Alibaba’s logistics unit. Cainiao recently revealed that it was doubling the year-end bonuses for all its employees in the coming financial year to boost employee morale after Alibaba abandoned plans for the logistics unit’s initial public offering (IPO).

Last week, Cainiao said it will double year-end bonuses for all employees in the next financial year, a move that is expected to help boost staff morale after parent Alibaba scrapped plans for the unit’s initial public offer. The logistics unit debuted the five-day delivery service in 2023 and has expanded the service to cover Mexico, Saudi Arabia, France, Germany and Portugal.

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