Inside JD.Com's Fully-Automated Warehouse

For a long time, we've been aware of automation's success in industries like logistics and manufacturing. While it's still uncertain whether these technological advancements have had an impact on South African shores yet, they're certainly going full-steam ahead in other more tech-savvy countries. And who's leading the charge when it comes to technology and innovation? For years, the US held the top spot but, recently, China has experienced an impressive rise in tech entrepreneurship and achievements. Let's take a look at one of their leading tech companies, JD.Com. It's considered the Chinese equivalent of Amazon so we want to see how things work over there. If JD.Com's fully-automated Shanghai warehouse is anything to go by, the company seems all too familiar with tech advancements. And China is certainly on the tech and innovation map...

Inside JD.Com's fully-automated warehouse
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Inside JD Com's high-tech warehouse

What is JD.Com?

According to the corporate JD.Com website, JD.Com is China’s largest online retailer and its biggest overall retailer. It's also the country’s biggest Internet company by revenue. apparently sets the standard for online shopping through its commitment to quality, authenticity, and its vast product offering. They sell everything from fresh food and clothing to electronics and cosmetics. It claims to have an unrivalled nationwide fulfilment network that covers 99% of China’s population. Like Amazon, and even some of our local e-commerce services, it provides standard same- and next-day delivery. Though JD.Com claims to offer a level of service and speed that's unmatched globally.

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Something that sets them apart, however, is the way they've adopted technology to make their operations as streamlined and efficient as possible. As you'll see below, there isn't a human to be seen in their fully-automated warehouse in Shanghai. Whether or not that's a good thing remains to be seen but, on the surface, it certainly looks like a cutting-edge operation...

Check out JD Com's high-tech Shanghai warehouse here

This video was uploaded in 2017, so we can't imagine how advanced their warehouse operations are now. Almost four years later. If you compare it to the video we saw from US tech giant Amazon a few months ago, it looks like the Chinese company is way ahead when it comes to logistics and automation. Although, and this may be better in the long run, Amazon claims to have a healthy harmony between humans and machines in their world-class warehouses. Time will tell which is the better strategy...

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Is China leading the pack in terms of technology and automation?

Given the rise of Chinese tech and tech investment, the country does seem to be at the top of their tech game. According to a 2019 report by the Centre for Data Innovation, China's AI market is expected to reach $11.9 billion by 2023. The country is currently leading AI tech development in the world, with over 32% of businesses implementing AI in some way. Technologies such as image recognition, object tracking, and autonomous driving are entering almost every Chinese industry, from agriculture to logistics. And, startup company DJI is the leading drone manufacturer in the world, with a 75% market share. This according to tech journalist and author Rebecca Fannin. Add TikTok to the pile - the app was originally developed in China - and there's barely room to doubt China's technological prowess. What's next? Only time will tell...

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