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China’s Delivery Giant SF Express Highlights Three Blockchain Use Cases in Its Annual Report 2018

SF Holding, the owner of China’s largest express delivery company, SF Express, highlights the applications of blockchain technology in its smart logistics network in the annual report 2018 which was released on March 15, showing a clear ambition to differentiate itself from rivals in increasing the efficiency and transparency of supply chains.

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Despite the cut-throat competition among China’s delivery companies, SF Express reported a 27.6 percent increase in operating income for 2018, totaling 90.943 billion yuan( around $13.55 billion) and achieved 3.484 billion yuan of net profits, according to the latest annual report.

It is noteworthy that the delivery giant poured 2.723 billion yuan in the research and development of emerging technologies last year, including blockchain, big data, artificial intelligence and intelligent hardware, obtaining 1,645 patents ( including pending patent applications) and 649 software copyrights.

The report indicates that blockchain technology plays an important role in increasing transparency and efficiencies of the firm’s  smart logistics network that combines “sky network” of air freight and drones “ground network” including last-mile and overall “information network” with access to both domestic and international logistics networks.

SF Express has leveraged blockchain in at least three sectors :

Pharmaceutical traceability: Based on the GS1 standard, the firm uses blockchain to keep track of drugs from the point they are produced right up to the point when they are sold to consumers, acting as part of its cold-chain transportation and medical warehouse businesses to ensure the drug quality;

Smart agriculture: SF Express leverages blockchain and internet of things(IoT) for the life cycle data management of agricultural products and capitalizes on the integration of blockchain, IoT and big data to reduce the cost of agricultural production and to increase plant quality;

Cross-border logistics operations: it has set up a blockchain-powered community retail project and a new customs clearance model, streamlining cross-border logistics.

The Shenzhen-based company, which went public on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange in 2017, has joined the Blockchain in Transport Alliance (BiTA) in July 2018, an alliance that focuses on the development of blockchain standards and education for the freight industry.

When it comes to the business plan for the company in 2019, the annual report stated that SF Express aims to use innovative technologies such as AI, cloud, automation and robotics to drive intelligent transformation of the supply chain and to make the IoT world accessible to everyone. All in all, it wants to transform into a technology-driven courier and to cement its status as the biggest deliverer in China’s e-commerce market.

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