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Alibaba’s Chinese Delivery Arm Is Back at Pre-Outbreak Levels

By Bloomberg / Mar 11, 2020 04:35 AM / Business & Tech

Boxes with Quick Response codes sit on display in a booth for Cainiao Smart Logistics Network. Photo: Bloomberg

Boxes with Quick Response codes sit on display in a booth for Cainiao Smart Logistics Network. Photo: Bloomberg

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s parcel and meal delivery arms have returned to pre-coronavirus outbreak staffing levels as China’s largest corporations get back to work after Beijing’s entreaty to safeguard economic growth.

Cainiao, of which Alibaba owns more than 60%, is again at full strength after a few weeks during which the epidemic disrupted transport and held up shipments. Meal delivery unit and grocery chain Freshippo are also back at full strength and operating at “full capabilities,” an Alibaba spokeswoman said.

That recovery underscores how the world’s No. 2 economy is slowly getting up to speed after the Covid-19 epidemic confined millions to their homes and paralyzed roads and rail nationwide. Cainiao, the company at the heart of Alibaba’s e-commerce business, oversees a network of millions of delivery people who can handle upwards of 1 billion packages daily at their peak.

Last week, Alibaba rival Inc. forecast at least 10% revenue growth this quarter, suggesting online retailing in China was proving more resilient to the coronavirus epidemic than expected.

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