JD.com is seeking to strengthen its reputation as a forward-thinking online marketplace by expanding its drone delivery services yet again, this time in Japan. Partnering with Rakuten, Inc., JD.com has announced that the two companies will share their expertise in drone delivery to advance autonomous delivery solutions and other supportive technologies, like dedicated mobile apps.

For three years, Rakuten has provided a line of drone delivery solutions in Japan and has collected experience that has made them the go-to provider of such technology for corporations and governments alike. Just last year, the company had its inaugural flight of an autonomous delivery drone, bringing this emerging technology closer to everyday reality for Japanese consumers.

JD.com’s own drone delivery program started in 2015, making it the first retailer to reach rural china with drone deliveries. In that time, JD.com’s drones have flown more than 400,000 minutes. Their track record was so impressive that they started 2019 with a test flight in Indonesia, the start of drone deliveries in the region. For Chinese urbanites, the sight of drones dropping off packages at universities and at office parks is becoming more and more common thanks to this one company.

Koji Ando, Rakuten’s Group Managing Executive Officer, expressed the company’s interest in working with one of China’s biggest retailers and pioneers in drone delivery technology. This partnership, Ando went on to express, will expedite Rakuten’s ambitions in autonomous delivery and strengthen Japan’s logistics sector in ways that will convenience consumers and assist the country in meeting the demands of a more streamlined future.

Similarly, Jun Xiao, President of JD.com’s logistics lab, JD-X, boasted the company’s ability to reach remote locations in China with repeated success. This has made JD.com’s drone solutions more effective, both in meeting its delivery targets and in cost. Japan presents new challenges, such as remote islands and mountainous regions, giving Xiao new targets to meet in order to push the technology to act as a benefit for society as a whole.

The main goal of this partnership is looking to speed up the roll-out of Rakuten’s autonomous drones for delivery tasks across Japan, giving JD.com increased access to a growing customer base in the region, all while promoting the adoption of convenience wherever possible.

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