The blockchain revolution continues in China even as Beijing bans initial coin offerings, cryptocurrency exchanges and Bitcoin mining. The latest “converts” are China’s two largest e-commerce companies, Alibaba Group and JD.com Inc.
Alibaba’s logistics arm Cainiao Global and its business-to-consumer unit Tmall have begun using blockchain technology to track, upload and verify logistical information on all imported products on Tmall, according to an official statement. The blockchain technology will track information on the products’ manufacturing, transportation, clearance, passing through customs and third-party inspections, so that shoppers can have fully transparent data on the products they are purchasing.
“The most important feature of the blockchain lies in that the uploaded data can not be tampered with. Through the logistics data uploaded by businesses, customs and other parties, consumers can cross-certify the various information they purchase,” an official at Cainiao Global said.
The scheme has covers the import ports in China such as Shanghai, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Tianjin, and more. At present, more than 30,000 imported goods in more than 50 countries are supporting logistics record based on blockchain technology, the company said.
At the same time, JD.com said yesterday it is launching a new accelerator to help support artificial intelligence and blockchain start-ups. The Beijing-based accelerator, called AI Catapult, will let start-ups work with JD.com’s operational team to find new ways to use AI and blockchain technology in JD.com’s businesses.
This new initiative follows JD.com’s existing programs on AI and blockchain. The company already teamed up with IBM, Walmart and Tsinghua University last December to launch a “Blockchain Food Safety Alliance” to improve food tracking and safety in China. The e-commerce firm also operates an AI research lab called the SAIL JD AI Research Institute with the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.