Cold chain storage is hot in China and logistics companies offering the service are making sure customers can tell the difference.
Mid-sized courier SF Express does it by delivering fresh lychee across the country while Alibaba’s Cainiao Networks uses ice cream to showcase its service.
From next month, customers of Alibaba’s Tmall online shop in 210 Chinese cities can order original-flavor ice cream directly from 10 of the largest ice cream makers in the United States and Cainiao will deliver it to them as advertised.
Tmall has teamed up with Häagen-Dazs, Dove, M&M, Ben & Jerry’s and Snickers to offer the service. It guarantees delivery within 24 hours to more than 100 cities, or customers get a refund.
To achieve that, Tmall workers told Yicai.com that they have specially designed insulation units that ensure the ice cream is kept in ideal conditions for 60-70 hours.
In the US, the average ice cream consumption was 23 kilos per person compared with just 1.2 kilos in China, according to the Sina tech news portal.
That makes China’s ice cream market ripe with potential. In fact, Chinese consumption of ice cream increased 30 percent last year. The middle and high-end ice cream market is expected to be worth 700 million yuan (US$112.52 million) this year.
Tmall and Cainiao are working aggressively to expand into the international cold logistics market; they have started delivering fresh seafood to New Zealand and Dutch tulip to China this year.
Alibaba is working with Singapore Post and China Post to strengthen its logistics chain.
On the other hand, SF Express is focusing on the domestic cold chain market, tapping numerous overseas brands to develop its niche in foreign goods supply.
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