China’s ecommerce turns to robots as labor shortage looms

Inside a warehouse in the southeast corner of Beijing, a crane-like robot patiently picks up packages from pallet to container. Red banners are strewn across the top of the wall, inscribed with slogans like “Innovation never rests” and “We advance towards smart logistics.”

This is JD-X, the logistics lab of Alibaba’s ecommerce archival JD. Launched last May, the R&D unit has teams in China and Silicon Valley, and develops a wide range of applications and tech: anything related to the movement and processing of packages – autonomous drones, delivery robots, and unmanned warehouses.

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