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AI helps couriers prepare for Singles’ Day, the world’s largest shopping spree

By Liu Ning, Yuan Meng, Ko Tomi (People's Daily Online)    17:04, November 09, 2018

Nov.11, Singles’ Day is the world’s largest shopping event. The date, written numerically is 11/11:evoking “bare branches,” the Chinese expression for the singles. For the last ten years, the celebration for unmarried young adults in China has been turned into a global online shopping extravaganza attracting thousands of e-commerce retailers and hundreds of millions of shoppers.

This year, an estimated 1.87 billion parcels will be delivered to consumers around Singles' Day, according to the State Post Bureau, 25% up from last year. So "delivery boys" will be busier than ever.

“On Singles' Day, there will be tons of parcels and heavy loads of work to do. But we are fully prepared. This is the 10th year for the shopping festival of Singles' Day. We are ready! We have been reinforcing manpower for Singles' Day since October,”said Mr. Ma, a courier working double shifts during the Singles' Day shopping spree.

But this year, they have another co-worker: AI.

"We've modified our logistics centers with massive automation upgrades since the beginning of the year," said Li Xiaoping, Director of the HQ Management Division of YTO Express (Logistics) Co., Ltd., one of the largest courier service providers in China. Li further added that: "In cooperation with Cainiao Smart Logistics Network, YTO Express has built the first AGV(automated guided vehicle) parcel-sorting system in order to improve the efficiency and the accuracy of sorting."

Last year's sales on Singles' Day totaled 168.2 billion yuan ($24.2 billion), more than twice as much as the entire five-day U.S. holiday-buying spree during Thanksgiving. What will be this year's number?

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)
(Web editor: Liu Ning, Bianji)

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