Cainiao Network, the logistics arm of Alibaba Group, announced Wednesday that it will lead a joint venture to invest approximately US$1.5bn (approximately HK$12bn) to build a digital logistics centre at Hong Kong International Airport, the world’s busiest cargo airport.
Cainiao will lead the project through its controlling joint venture with China National Aviation Corporation (Group) Limited and YTO Express. The companies hold a 51%, 35% and 14% stake in the joint venture respectively.
With advanced environmental protection standards and state-of-the-art technologies, such as automated warehousing and temperature-control solutions, the centre will be put into operation in 2023 with an estimated gross floor area of 380,000 sqm. It will include an air cargo-processing centre, sorting centre and order fulfilment centre, among other functions.
The centre will handle tens of millions of parcels every year to meet the surging cross-border e-commerce needs of global SMEs, bringing an incremental cargo volume of approximately 1.7m tonnes per annum to the Hong Kong International Airport when the centre operates in full capacity.
The move forms part of Cainiao’s broader effort to expand and strengthen its global logistics network.
Just last week, Cainiao unveiled plans to open five hubs in five cities around the world – Dubai, Hangzhou, Kuala Lumpur, Liège (Belgium) and Moscow.
The new Hong Kong hub will mark another enhancement to this network. It is also part of Alibaba’s commitment to invest more than 100bn yuan in an efficient smart logistics network that drives 24-hour delivery in China and 72-hour delivery to the rest of the world.
“The Hong Kong hub will be yet another milestone on our way to achieving our goal of 72-hour global delivery, and will further empower SMEs locally and globally to more readily tap the benefits of more inclusive globalization through cross-border e-commerce,” said Wan Lin, president of Cainiao Network.
“The Hong Kong International Airport has been the world’s busiest cargo airport for many years. As an important gateway for global goods to enter the mainland China market and vice versa, Hong Kong is of strategic importance to Cainiao and we have a strong commitment to help the city address the surging needs of the future.”
Cainiao already has three Global Fulfillment Centres in Hong Kong which are operated by its partners. As well, Cainiao opened an airfreight route between Hong Kong and Belgium last month. This is its second such international airfreight route specially for e-commerce parcels following the opening of its Hangzhou- Moscow route earlier this year.