Uber-style app for Chinese e-commerce

A new social-media platform could help struggling Chinese logistics companies match delivery capacity to fluctuating demand.

According to McKinsey, the yet-to-be-named shipping platform using both digital and social technologies links merchants with multiple logistics companies’ trucking fleets and drivers – enabling the companies to share capacity when they have room to do so.

Much like Uber, “the app serves to mobilise an on-demand pool of thousands of independent urban Chinese delivery drivers,” McKinsey explained.

“The service provides dynamic profiles of drivers, their delivery records, and their capabilities – such as whether they do unpacking or installation work.

“It also enables users to rate drivers, thereby encouraging merchants to turn to competing logistics services or to the many independents they might previously have considered unreliable.”

McKinsey found that the Chinese e-commerce sector is still fragmented, and as a result the country’s logistics players struggle to keep up not only with the dizzying rates of e-shopping growth – 50 percent and more – but also with the wide variability in demand.

“During slack periods, trucks are often loaded to only 30 to 40 percent of their capacity,” the company revealed. “At peak times … merchants complain that orders are lost because of delivery delays.”

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