Alibaba’s Chinese delivery arm is back at pre-outbreak levels

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Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s parcel and meal delivery arms have returned to pre-coronavirus outbreak staffing levels, the latest example of how China’s largest corporations are getting back to work after Beijing’s entreaty to safeguard economic growth.

Cainiao, of which Alibaba owns more than 60%, is again at full strength after a few weeks during which the epidemic disrupted transport and held up shipments. Meal delivery unit Ele.me and grocery chain Freshippo are also back at full strength and operating at “full capabilities” at present, an Alibaba spokeswoman said.

That recovery underscores how the world’s No. 2 economy is slowly getting up to speed after Covid-19 confined millions to their homes and paralyzed roads and rail nationwide. Cainiao, the company at the heart of Alibaba’s e-commerce business, oversees a network of millions of delivery people that can handle upwards of a billion packages daily at their peak.

Last week, Alibaba-rival JD.com Inc. forecast at least 10% revenue growth this quarter, suggesting online retail in China was proving more resilient to the coronavirus epidemic than anticipated.

Bloomberg News