Cainiao Smart Logistics Network, the logistics arm of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, announced on Thursday the launch of its 2021 global open tender valued at 500 million yuan ($76.5 million) as the firm attempts to strengthen its global logistics network to support cross-border e-commerce growth.
The global open tender encompasses all key markets including North Asia, Southeast Asia, Europe, Middle East, Australia, New Zealand, and the US. The deadline for tender submissions is December 15, 2020.
“As a digital logistics platform, Cainiao adopts a collaborative approach by integrating existing industry logistics resources and empowers connected partners with an innovative and open data platform which improves efficiency along the entire value chain,” said Cainiao in a statement.
The development represents Cainiao’s latest initiative to build out a global logistics infrastructure, since Alibaba increased its stake in the logistics unit from about 51 per cent to 63 per cent in November 2019 to unfold the firm’s global ambitions.
With Alibaba paying 23.3 billion yuan ($3.6 billion) for the additional 12 per cent stake, Cainiao reached a valuation of around 194.2 billion yuan ($29.7 billion).
The investment helped Cainiao achieve a nearly four-fold valuation increase in less than four years, from about 50 billion yuan ($7.6 billion) when the firm had closed its initial funding round at over 10 billion yuan ($1.5 billion) in March 2016. Its first financing was backed by investors including Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC, Singapore state investor Temasek, Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional Bhd, and China-based Primavera Capital Group.
Cainiao, founded in May 2013, has developed into a platform of over 3,000 logistics partners and three million courier personnel.
The open tender covers both business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) services.
In the B2C area, Cainiao will curate a list of Cainiao-certified third-party logistics (3PL) partners to provide a full suite of end-to-end logistics services for merchants, spanning overseas parcel collection, international line-haul, import customs clearance, and last-mile delivery.
Hangzhou-based Cainiao also plans to select partners for its global fulfilment warehouse network to support overseas warehouse management, which includes storage and inventory management; quality inspection; picking and packing. It also seeks to find partners for its global consolidation warehouse network for consolidation of B2C parcels.
Through the partnership, the firm aims to reinforce resources to “deliver greater stability and efficiency” to support cross-border e-commerce businesses for both Alibaba, which operates platforms like Taobao, Tmall, and Kaola; as well as non-Alibaba merchants.
In the B2B area, Cainiao will strengthen its warehouse and trucking network to support businesses’ import and export needs.
In the statement, the firm said that these overseas warehouses need to be located near ports to facilitate efficient transportation and be able to provide services for pre-stocking, storage, and to serve as a container freight station (CFS).
Partners supporting the trucking network will also have to be well-equipped with resources, such as lorries and container trucks, to handle transportation of goods between warehouses and ports.