There’s increasing pressure for ecommerce companies to offer customers “value-added services” such as same-day delivery or offline pick-up points thanks to a growing generation expectant of instant gratification – waiting even 3 days for a package isn’t going to cut it.  

Online brands and retailers end up working with a variety logistics companies to deliver orders across urban and rural areas in a quick fashion to appease customers. This is a trend not only in developed economies, but demanded in developing countries such as Thailand and Indonesia as well.

Progression of logistics in Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia is poised to become one of the world’s fastest growing market for ecommerce, estimated to exceed $238 billion by 2020. Known to be ridden with infrastructure challenges such as fickle trade regulations and lack of roads, government initiatives across the region are being put in place to improve logistics.

An example is the Indonesian government’s push to increase accessibility of islands in the country by constructing a road alongside the Malaysian border and building seaports.

“If you look at the roads, airports and railways, things are improving and will continue to. Infrastructure spend in Indonesia is expected to reach $165 billion by 2025 and the spend in public investment expected to increase by 7% per year,” says Charles Brewer, CEO at DHL Ecommerce.

Thailand also has a $50 billion infrastructure budget as the country plans to improve roads, highways and railways in the upcoming years.

But long term changes will take both investment and time before the region’s infrastructure can catch up to “same-day appetite” in developing markets and at a relatively inexpensive cost.

The ‘Light’ Model

In the meantime, online players can rely on the rise of an on-demand, lighter logistics model that tackles issues of long delivery periods and limited distribution in rural locations.

According to real estate consulting firm CBRE, modern logistics services are shifting away from big box warehouses, bulky deliveries and in turn, expanding their networks with existing infrastructure or building small counters across the country to meet the demands of clients.

Examples of this in Bangkok include SKYBOX pickup and dropoff kiosks, located at the city’s public train stations and Zalora Thailand that uses 7-Eleven as return points.

Logistics providers are also introducing collection points at existing locations such as shopping centers or office buildings in second and third tier cities as seen by DHL Ecommerce’s recent nationwide expansion in Thailand. The company’s aim is to decrease the time SMEs take to ship parcels.

According to a DHL survey, 55% of SMEs cite logistics as a time killer.

It’s resource heavy to build new hubs and roads and companies can’t afford the time needed to see infrastructure improvements and capture market share. By turning to a light model, logistics services can provide efficient, speedy services without big investments.

Adapting to (on) demand

Southeast Asia’s increase in delivery expectancies could be attributed to the fact that mobile subscriptions are ahead of the global average with 854 million mobile connections. These mobile first users can easily request for on-demand groceries, t-shirts and hot meals on the go with their phones.

Next day delivery account for 95% of existing logistics services in Thailand, while the remaining 5% is filled by on-demand delivery services. There’s still a vast opportunity for logistics players to service ecommerce companies that require speed and efficiency.

In Indonesia, there are PopBox lockers designed to make last mile more convenient for shoppers and merchants. According to William Tanuwijaya, CEO of B2C marketplace Tokopedia, “courier businesses will grow as they are needed to deliver products sold on marketplaces. The promise of fast delivery is also appealing to locals.”

In order to fully serve Southeast Asia’s growing customer demand for faster deliveries, logistics companies need to offer localized, out of the box solutions such as pick-up points in parcel shops, partnerships with convenience stores, lockers or risk being left behind.

 

Compared to Alibaba chairman and founder Jack Ma’s marketing skills and media savviness, SF Express’ founder Wang Wei is very much like the logistics service his company offers–low-profile, boring but indispensable. So indispensable to the growth of China’s economy and ecommerce market that after its February 23, 2017 IPO in Shenzhen, SF Express now has a market cap of $38 billion. FedEx, the quintessential delivery company founded in 1971, has a valuation of $51 billion for comparison.

Owning a whopping 68 percent of shares, Wang Wei’s net worth beat out Jack Ma’s earlier this month to become the 2nd richest person in China with 198.5 billion RMB (about $28.7 billion USD). He has already surpassed Tencent’s Pony Ma, whose company is behind the popular WeChat platform.

The Birth of A Logistics Empire

Despite being less known than Jack Ma in mass media and tech circles, Wang Wei’s story and slow grind to become the king of logistics in China is nonetheless as interesting and inspiring.

The son of a Russian language interpreter in the People’s Liberation Army and a university teacher, Wang Wei was born in Shanghai in 1971 and followed his parents to Hong Kong soon after. Growing up there, Wang Wei only finished high school and then started working for a local Hong Kong ‘uncle’ eventually ending up in a small printing shop in the city of Shunde in Guangdong province.

While sending printing samples to Hong Kong for clients to review, he noticed the increasing volumes and lack of available delivery options – the glimpse of an upcoming opportunity in logistics.

During his time in Shunde, China itself was going through a transformational process of opening up to the world under the leadership of Deng Xiaoping. Deng helped initiate the concept of “Special Economic Zones (SEZs)”– pockets of China that would be experimentally exposed to free-market forces. The Pearl River Delta (PRD), an area encompassing cities such as Shenzhen and Guangzhou, became part of the first SEZs and stimulated increased trade between it and Hong Kong.

Many Hong Kong businesses then decided to set up factories in Guangdong province leading to an increased demand for delivery services between Hong Kong and the mainland.

In 1993, at the height of China’s economic reform, Wang Wei at age 22, decided to partner with five friends to start Shunfeng (SF) Express. His dad provided a 100,000 RMB loan, about $13,000 USD, to get Wang Wei’s business off the ground.

Like the Ubers and Airbnbs first starting out, Wang Wei’s business model straddled the grey area as private courier businesses were ruled illegal in China until 2009. The only legal option was China’s inefficient national post office system but this didn’t stop SF express.

The early days consisted of Wang Wei personally hauling suitcases and backpacks across the Hong Kong border, working 15-16 hour days but he was determined to build his fledgling startup into China’s largest logistics company.

Shunfeng Express and Wang Wei’s Business Philosophy

For 20 years since the company’s founding, Wang Wei personally controlled 99.99% of SF Express and avoided any raising external funding. The lack of public exposure and venture capitalists has led to legendary stories of VCs offering around $70,000 USD to “bounty hunters” who could successfully broker a dinner meeting with the elusive SF founder.

Asked about his reasons for shying from media, Wang Wei once answered: “I believe in a higher power, I think, a person’s success has nothing to do with talent. Success is related to doing good deeds. Having a lot of money isn’t something to brag about, nor is having talent.

Being successful and making money is just a matter of fate. That’s why I don’t think people should brag about achievements in their career. Being low-key also brings benefits from a management perspective — if employees don’t recognize you, you are able to dig deeper and get to understand the real situation.”

In a move signaling an inevitable IPO, Wang Wei sold a 25% stake to a consortium of investors led by CITIC Capital Holdings Limited in 2013.

“I believe a company’s objective shouldn’t be making money. I want to create a platform through which I can express my values and thoughts. The sole purpose of going public is to get funding, which can then be used to fuel a company’s growth. SF needs funding too but SF cannot go public just because of the need for money. After an IPO, a company will be turned into a money-making machine with the daily ups and downs of the share price affecting the company’s morale, this makes it very hard to manage the company.”

“For me to run a business, I’d like to develop a business for the long-term, to provide people a means to a better and respectable life. But after going IPO, things will be different. You have to account for shareholders, you have to make sure your share value keeps increasing. Earning a profit becomes the company’s sole mission. This way, a company becomes very fickle just like today’s society.”

In a very Bezos-esque and Spiegel-esque move, retaining full control of his company allowed Wang Wei to execute his long-term strategies – mind you, SF was founded 24 years ago, before eBay and Amazon even existed.

“In order to run a successful business, you’ll need to relentlessly focus on the long-term. Once you go public, every penny, every small decision will be scrutinized by your shareholders. This is not something I can accept. I cannot promise short-term returns if I’m optimizing for the long-term. In addition, once you go IPO, you’ll need to start disclosing information. In order to compete with global giants, we need to keep our secrets. As a business owner, you need to really understand why you want to go public. Having said that, in the short-term, SF won’t go public. Even in the long-term, if we decide to go public, it won’t be for the sake of going public or for making money.”

IPO and International Growth

Despite Wang Wei’s well-intended efforts to keep his firm private as long as possible, the brutal reality is that his company operates in the commodity last-mile delivery space with quickly eroding margins – down to 5% from 30% 10 years ago according to analysts.

Alibaba’s push into aggregating all delivery services in China through its Cainiao platform has only exacerbated this. As a result, delivery companies in China have recently started their frantic race towards raising as much capital as possible, as fast as possible in order to get to scale in a winner-takes-all-market.

“SF Express, YTO, and the other China express delivery majors have all been racing to go public. Faced with shrinking profits and mounting competitive threats, the dream of being the “Fedex of China” has morphed into an arms race in capital and capabilities,” commented Jeffrey Towson, Professor at Peking University’s Guanghua School of management.

SF competitors such as ZTO Express and Alibaba-backed YTO Express all have recently gone public, with ZTO raising $1.4 billion at $12 billion valuation through its listing on Nasdaq and YTO achieving a valuation of almost $10 billion through its backdoor listing on the Shanghai Stock Exchange.

With competitors raising more firepower, SF had little choice but to follow suit and go public in Shenzhen via a reverse merger with a local mining company. This move turned Wang Wei into the third wealthiest individual in China and was richer than Jack Ma for a couple of days until SF shares dropped but this doesn’t signal the end to China’s logistics arms race.

According to Investment Professor Towson of Peking University, in order to keep scaling, China’s logistics leaders should look at international expansion – the rest of Asia being the most obvious initial step.

STO already has its biggest overseas delivery center in Hong Kong to enable pan-Asia deliveries within 24 hours and SF Express has been strategically located since the early days with its headquarters in Shenzhen, close to Thailand, China’s gateway to Southeast Asia.

With Alibaba’s acquisition of Lazada in Southeast Asia last year and JD’s entrance into Indonesia in 2015, it’s a no-brainer for the likes of SF to follow its largest Chinese customers into the next largest emerging market.

If SF led by Wang Wei enters Southeast Asia, expect a logistics war to be fought between Chinese entrants, local incumbents such as Ninja Van and Kerry Logistics, as well as global players like DHL and Singpost.

By: Sheji Ho, aCommerce Group CMO

Looking at ASEAN’s current $15 billion online retail sales and 19% YOY growth, the region’s ecommerce potential will continue to rise for the years to come.

Source: aCommerce Data & Research

Aside from the ecommerce opportunity in ASEAN, there are some market characteristics that professionals should be aware of before setting up own ecommerce operations. Understanding these characteristics and obstacles will define the success of future business endeavors.

So how can companies get started and set up a successful ecommerce business? What are the areas to look into before entering ecommerce?

Following this checklist will hopefully help ask the right questions and trigger appropriate initiatives: Read more

Constraints within Vietnam’s underdeveloped infrastructure are not well documented, but that hasn’t stopped the country from continued economic developments and growth in ecommerce.

Raphael Wilhelm and his co-founder Vanessa Santamaria launched SoNice, a new entry to Vietnam’s newest e-marketplace, took time to share with eIQ the challenges with starting a business in the up and coming ecommerce market.

What is SoNice?

The company launched in October 2016 in Ho Chi Minh City enabling Vietnamese designers and makers to scale their businesses as SoNice is capitalizing on the emerging and fast growing sector of local independent brands.

As many merchants on SoNice have little ecommerce experience, the company began to offer services such as content production, brand management and logistics in addition to hosting them on the platform.

Businesses were selling items such as concrete lamps, sketch notebooks and handmade leather wallets on the platform but they didn’t just want another online channel, they wanted someone who could help them scale.

SoNice features over 800 curated products and with a 80% month over month GMV growth since its launch four months ago, activating Vietnam’s smaller brands is working.

Home decor is one of SoNice’s core categories, which taps into Vietnam’s growing property market, where more young people are buying their first apartments and choosing western inspired, modern interiors.

Vietnam emerging from the shadows

Before 2015, Vietnam’s market was often overlooked by foreign investors and only two main companies were offering opportunities for brave investors, Dragon Capital and Vietnam Asset Management Limited.

During that time, countries such as Indonesia and India were showing investors that Asia was more than China, these two countries in 2014 accounted for 21% of the world’s population and 3.8% of global GDP together, and shadowing Vietnam’s potential.

But the tide slowly turned and Vietnam’s investment potential continues to grow. In 2016, the country overtook Indonesia and Thailand as ASEAN’s most attractive market for US firms – 40% of them cited Vietnam as their priority market in the region.

In that same year, ecommerce revenue also increased to $5 billion, accounting for about 3% of total retail trade and services revenue. The number could surge within the next few years as the government plans to invest $111.6 million from the State budget into the ICT sector by 2020.

With a young population, increasing urbanization and 44% Internet users in 2015, the country is steadily becoming an attractive market for businesses.

However, the ASEAN market comes with its own obstacles SoNice co-founder Raphael experienced firsthand. He details what new companies should look out for:

Overcrowded B2C space

Marketplaces such as Tiki, Sendo and Lotte are some of the most well-known marketplaces among the Vietnamese in addition to the region’s most popular marketplace, Lazada. This means that new businesses trying to capture market share would be entering an already crowded battleground.

Raphael advises,

“Understand the playing field first. It would make more sense as a smaller, new player to offer a more select and strategic product offering on your platform to increase the chance of survival.”

He notes that Vietnam’s vertical ecommerce market is still relatively young. Notable startups such as WeFit and Foody are good examples of successful companies that saw opportunities in their untapped fields by offering something unique to consumers.

“For entrepreneurs poised to enter Vietnam, think about what is lacking, and go from there.”

Challenges specific to foreigners

As a European business owner in Vietnam, the process of opening a bank account took 2X longer than it would for a local.

“The quality of financial services is also quite low in Vietnam. Not only did it take me a few hours to open a bank account, I was also required by the bank to pay a deposit to apply for a credit card,” comments Wilhelm.

For 100% foreign owned businesses, it will be a challenge to overcome the country’s bureaucracy. Wilhelm recommends hiring at least two different lawyers in Vietnam to help navigate the 5-6 month long process of launching your own company, whereas for locals, the process simply takes five days.

Vietnam’s unbanked population

Although it’s becoming less common, some people still pay for their houses using gold and the reason why Raphael says 90% of ecommerce transactions in Vietnam are paid with cash-on-delivery (COD).

According to the World Bank, 70% of Vietnamese are still unbanked. However, with 38% of the population owning a smartphone, payment companies and banks have the potential to access more clients and increase financial sophistication amongst the Vietnamese.

Low trust in logistics 

“The postal services in Vietnam are not yet up to an international standard, which can sometimes cause delays in delivery, making it hard to persuade people to shop online,” comments Raphael. “We use motorbike riders in Ho Chi Minh City and 3PLs to deliver to other cities like Hanoi and Danang.”

SoNice’s best-selling products range from Home décor items such as canvas art prints and Edison Desk Lamps to hand-crafted notebooks – the right size for motorbikes making delivery cost is also favorable.

“While logistics are a challenge, the price ranges between $1-2 to take your customer’s parcel from one district to another.”

Winning over VCs

According to Raphael, there’s a lack of funds and VCs that solely focus on Vietnam. Instead, startups often have to pitch elsewhere to raise funding, commonly to outsiders who aren’t quite convinced of the market potential.

However, it seems that overseas VCs are taking notice. In 2016, Vietnam saw two dozen startups receive funding from seed to Series C stages with the help of Hanoi based ed-tech startup Topica’s Founder Institute incubator.

For Raphael, interested investors are advised to spend time with local entrepreneurs and get to know their way around the city before committing to an investment opportunity.

“The culture here is so distinctive that it requires an understanding of the locals, of how things are done and these two require time and effort,” says Raphael. “The market can’t be pitched in 5 or 6 slides, it’s important to come with an open mind.”

Although the fundraising process takes time, the average deal size in Vietnam is relatively small, meaning that investors don’t need to commit to a major investment to make an impact. They could easily inject $500,000 and it would be considered a significant contribution, unlike funding rounds in Singapore or Indonesia where numbers are in the millions.

The Vietnamese mindset

In general, Vietnamese people have more to spend compared to even two-three years ago. When Raphael arrived in Ho Chi Minh City in 2012, the landscape was completely different.

“After Starbucks opened shop in Vietnam, a wave of boutique coffee houses popped up and young people also started to invest more in their first apartments. Vietnam is slowly opening up room for more experiences, shopping and consumer-centric verticals,” remarks Raphael.

The Vietnamese government has recently announced Resolution 35, an initiative to help launch one million enterprises by 2020, double the current number. The State is ensuring equal access to funding sources, land and natural resources among enterprises, regardless of their types and economic sectors and adopt policies to back SMEs, startups and creative businesses.

Vietnam: Is it worth it?

“Despite the hurdles in Vietnam’s growing ecommerce landscape, the challenges in payment, logistics and the law exist because the ecommerce landscape is so new, not because Vietnam is not suitable for ecommerce,” says Raphael.

SoNice’s growth in less than six months speaks for itself and Raphael is a passionate advocate for Vietnam’s potential.

“By coming in now, startups have a higher chance of succeeding but they must differentiate themselves from what’s out there. Deep rooted challenges in Vietnam present companies with lots of opportunities,” said Raphael.

Raphael (center) with the SoNice team in Ho Chi Minh city

Mitch Bittermann, Regional Chief Logistics Officer at aCommerce recently sat down with The Postal Hub podcast to discuss a successful B2C ecommerce strategy, logistics in Southeast Asia, and what he thinks brands should prioritize when attempting cross-border. 

The Postal Hub: From a retailer perspective, what are the challenges to get into ecommerce

Mitch: I would look into tech, customer service, warehousing and transportation. Retailers today are mainly working from a B2B perspective. This means bulky shipping and heavy-duty racking in the warehouses, which is only suitable when operating B2B. To do B2C, the requirements are completely different, because the consignments are smaller. From a transaction perspective, businesses would also need to think differently.

With transportation, it would either be light or FTL (full truck load), the size of packages are smaller with B2C, which means you have to work with parcel couriers to get the items shipped to your end customer. The biggest difference is also with customer service. If a company is running their own customer service, it usually requires them to talk to businesses, but with B2C, customer service means the end customer is contacting you through various channels, from calling to live chat, things that B2B businesses may not have.

The Postal Hub: If you are a retailer entering ecommerce, what are the key delivery considerations?

Mitch: I would go one step before that. I would think about what the location strategy is. Where is your supplier, brand, manufacturer and customer sitting? If it comes from a transportation perspective, today, you’re shipping a lot on freight. You’re shipping pallets, costs is definitely a consideration but from a cost perspective it is a lot smaller than if you have to send everything in small consignments. Someone has to pick up the bill.

Customers in Southeast Asia are more cost sensitive about shipping price so retailers will eventually need to consider setting up a hub somewhere to cut costs on shipping.

Postal Hub: Cash on delivery is popular in Southeast Asia. What are the other ways people are paying?

Mitch: Cash-on-delivery (COD) is the biggest enabler in ASEAN. This is the choice for most people, especially in tier 2-3 cities that are unbanked. If you look at Indonesia, in a place like Papua New Guinea, 90% is COD. Do we have another method? Yes, but one of the challenges is that we do not have Alipay. Banks offer platform but they are not default.

In Indonesia, a lot of banks are talking about an e-platform but nothing concrete is happening just yet. 

For now, we cannot live without COD in Southeast Asia. Potentially, a retailer could lose out 60-70% of revenue if they don’t offer COD as a payment method.

Postal Hub: What about buy vs. build? What should be outsourced?

Mitch: It really depends on retailer maturity. If a retailer is just starting, I would say do as much as possible by yourself. Pack and send off shipment by yourself, if your business scales, then look to outsource. When it reaches the stage of 100,000 orders a month, do you want to run it by yourself or outsource to a third party service provider?

With transportation, it is best to outsource. This is because Southeast Asia still has fairly weak infrastructure. There are a lot of options to choose from; DHL and Kerry are the big ones. Then we have smaller disruptors such as Ninja Van and Sendit. All the movements in the transportation industry also mean prices will be soon drop and the industry will become more commoditized.

Some of my clients run their own warehouses and some outsource. When I was working in B2B, companies were running their own warehouses and then the outsourcing trend happened. The trend is coming for B2C, but I don’t think it will take 5-10 years to take off, it will go faster.

Soon, the trend will go towards out-sourcing supply chain so that businesses can focus on growing and selling their products. 

Postal Hub: What about cross-border delivery?

Mitch: With delivery, some people request next day or same day. It’s more difficult to ship cross-border with these requirements. Companies need to consider regulations that are related to ecommerce shipment and study revenue transfer, especially if you don’t have your own entity in that country. Figure out how to get money back from country A to country B while also thinking about tax implications.

Businesses will also need to think about FDA licenses and certain regulations. For certain products, you would need a license to legally bring it into a country, including distribution and logistics licenses.

A client came to me, they wanted to ship stuff from Singapore to Indonesia, but it was taking 7-9 days and costing customers $7 per shipping order. Depending on the product, that is quite a high price point. Customers are also not happy to wait that long for a delivery.

The client wanted a local set-up and do COD shipment because they want to build up scale. The company never shipped more than 100 orders a month. When they signed on with aCommerce, we closed 1400 orders after 3 months. The only thing that changed is the country we did the shipping from.  

For businesses that are starting out in Asia, I would say for them to start their operations from either Hong Kong or Singapore. If it scales, then is the time to go local i.e. Jakarta, or hyper-local, such as tier 2 and tier 3 cities like Bandung or Surabaya for better reach. 

Postal Hub: What about parcel lockers? What are end consumers in Southeast Asia interested in?

Mitch: The interest is there, but it’s all about reach and coverage. In Singapore, the country is not that big and essentially a metropolitan location, which makes it easier to offer things like same day delivery. In Bangkok, we power SKYBOX, a pick-up station on sky-train stations that allows consumers to pick-up their parcels on the way to and from work.

In Jakarta, MatahariMall offers lockers but it is limited in terms of coverage. I would recommend looking at pick-up and return from convenient stores such as 7-Eleven, Family Mart and Alpha Mart. There is already a lot of offline coverage in Southeast Asian cities and retailers can collaborate with these stores to begin a wider distribution network. 

Listen to the full interview on eIQ’s podcast channel here.

The global shipping industry is going through a tough time. Overcapacity and the lowest recorded freight and cargo rates are causing logistics companies to salvage the situation by diversifying their clientele, namely to serve more online players.

Alibaba is taking advantage of this opportunity and creating a solution for these companies through its OneTouch import and export service, offered by a company Alibaba acquired seven years ago. Chinese suppliers no longer need to go through freight forwarders and can directly book spots on a container ship directly via the internet through OneTouch.

The platform is a sign of growing harmony between logistics companies and ecommerce.

OneTouch has already helped over 20,000 merchants – SMEs and Alibaba’s B2B marketplace sellers – explore cross-border opportunities with China and handles the customs clearance and logistics.

Shipping companies happy to jump onboard

OneTouch was put into the spotlight after signing three big names in shipping; Maersk, CMA CGM and Zim.

“This gritty industry has taken the background role in the past but now has the potential to affect the way every product is sourced, bought and delivered,” comments Dr. Zvi Schreiber, CEO and founder of Freightos.

“Building on a massive 80% ecommerce market share in China, Alibaba’s new partnership with Maersk – which controls 25% of all container ships globally – means Chinese manufacturers and retailers have a direct line to US buyers, avoiding middleman markups. Maersk is testing the waters of digital sales with one of the world’s largest ecommerce companies while threatening forwarder business.”

Whatever you do, I do?

Alibaba’s OneTouch is similar to Beijing Century Joyo Courier Service, Amazon.com’s ocean freight service for Chinese “Fulfillment by Amazon” vendors, who market directly to foreign consumers by staging their goods at Amazon warehouses abroad.

“If you are a Chinese supplier, Amazon FBA lets you “slap a brand on your product, work with a logistics company, list your goods on Amazon, and now all of the sudden you cut out three layers of supply chain and you’re able to get directly to customers,” said Scott Galit, CEO of payment processing firm Payoneer, speaking to USA Today.

A big difference between the two is that OneTouch allows exporters to send their containers to the destination of the customer’s choice.

Why is Alibaba doing this?

Panjiva, an online search engine with information on global suppliers and manufacturers, detailed in research that the market opportunity for partnerships with OneTouch is significant.

Data shows that from China-to-US, less-than-container load (LCL) shipments in 2016 totaled to 699,000. LCL refers to when a shipper does not have enough goods to fill into a container, they would arrange for a consolidator to book their cargo.

Xiao Feng, Vice General Manager of OneTouch comments,

“Our goal is to help small and midsized companies export as easily as big companies do.”

“Alibaba unites small businesses online to increase their bargaining power with suppliers. For example, there’s a big difference in the price paid by a company that often ships 100 containers of products compared with a company that usually only ships one container.”

But it’s probably Dr. Zvi Schreiber who puts it best.

“For Alibaba, this is a direct challenge to global retailers like Amazon. Beyond drones and futuristic supermarkets, Amazon opted to get licensed as a forwarder (NVOCC). Alibaba one-upped them by going directly to the world’s largest ocean liner. Point, Alibaba.”

Interested in Alibaba’s plan to dominate logistics? Read about Cainiao Network here.