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Chinese firm mulls using drones for express delivery service

An airplane flies over a drone in the skies of New York. Photo: Reuters

China's largest express delivery company SF Holding is planning to deliver packages using unmanned aircraft in a bid to enhance work efficiency and reduce operating costs, the China Securities Journal reported on Wednesday.

Speaking at an annual performance assessment meeting, Chen Fei, assistant to CEO at SF Holding, said that the Shenzhen-based logistics provider has applied for and obtained 111 patents related to drones since 2013 when it started testing drone delivery.

"SF Holding is the first company to use unmanned aircraft in the logistics sector in the country," Chen said, according to the report.

In 2015, there were media reports saying that SF had worked with domestic drone maker XAircraft to experiment with drone delivery in a confidential project in the southern Chinese city of Dongguan in 2013.

Parcels are loaded onto the drone by a courier, the delivery address is scanned and the drone then flies to the destination where it is picked up by another courier, according to media reports.

Industry insiders said that the use of drones would result in quicker delivery times and less operating costs in the remote areas which couriers find difficult to access.

In addition, Chen noted that the company will invest more in developing smart hardware devices and automation equipment to reduce manual manipulation.

In February, SF completed a backdoor listing in Shenzhen.

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