China’s Logistics Network Powers Medical Response

The coronavirus has prompted a nationwide effort to combat the disease, with private corporations pitching in contributing emergency medical aid. As the demand for medical supplies has far outstripped the supply across China, logistics networks have become crucial to nationwide response. Many of China’s unicorn companies, responsible for the creation of China’s formidable logistics system, have assisted in various emergency initiatives. The huge demand for medical supplies including masks and testing kits increased the profiteering from the desperate situation.

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Here are some of the contributions of China’s top logistics and e-commerce companies:


Pinduoduo, an e-commerce disruptor who pioneered a social group buying model in China, has delivered more than 130 tons of fresh produce to hospitals in Hubei province as of February 2. The shipment includes apples, carrots and broccoli and represents a month’s supply of fresh produce for the 5,000 medical staff at four hospitals. To further secure food supplies, Pinduoduo is working with China Post and SF Express to open “green” channels from agricultural production areas to reach a total of 12 cities and 27 counties in the province.

As of February 3, Pinduoduo has donated over one million medical masks, 200,000 medical gloves and 30 tons of disinfectant to Hubei Province. These aid supplies successfully reached the cities of Wuhan, Huanggang, Xiaogan, Tianmen and their neighboring areas.

The company has also provided 600 million yuan in subsidies for disease-prevention necessities, including medical masks, disinfectant, thermometers and anti-viral medicines, subsidized more than 80 million orders in total as of February 1.

To fight profiteering and counterfeit goods, Pinduoduo has instituted more stringent authentication measures that include “round-the-clock” monitoring and authentication.

Delivery giant JD Logistics has transported more than 140 tons of prevention materials to Wuhan via rail. As of January 30, the company had received requests by 450 institutions for delivery of material donations to support Wuhan.

Their assistance was largely concentrated at the epicenter of the outbreak in Wuhan, China. As of 6pm on January 31, 23 days after the WHO had identified the novel coronavirus as a global emergency, JD had transported more than 140 tons of prevention materials to Wuhan via rail. According to the company February 2, the company had delivered 2.36 million medical and epidemic prevention supplies, including masks, medical gloves, goggles, and disinfectants to major hospitals in Wuhan, and the surrounding area of Hubei Province.

The company has begun to concentrate their robot inventory in Wuhan, to allow for fully automated delivery within the ailing city. To avoid human-to-human contact, JD’s robots will ensure the continued access to essentials during a city-wide quarantine.


Alibaba established a coronavirus relief fund worth 1 billion yuan, that will be used for purchasing and aggregating medical items for emergency response both from China and abroad. The company has also been leveraging their considerable logistics network to ship medical supplies to the frontline.

Cainiao, Alibaba’s logistics unit, has launched a “Green Channel” initiative with industry partners in China that has delivered over 5 million pieces of medical supplies to Wuhan and neighboring cities in Hubei province.

As of February 3, Alibaba had delivered medical supplies from 15 countries and regions, including self-purchased and donated goods, to 18 hospitals in Hubei, Zhejiang and Anhui provinces. Cainiao worked with customs authorities to speed clearance at airports and ports, cutting the overall shipment time for vital emergency relief.

With the help of donors, Alibaba managed to contribute 500,000 medical gloves, 40,000 sets of protective clothing, 20,000 goggles, 7,000 cases of disinfectant fluids, 30 tons of intravenous drips and over 40 tons of food to Hubei province.