China's biggest courier firm granted license to start drone deliveries

Bloomberg is reporting that Chinese courier company S.F. Express was granted the first drone operation license in China and now has legal status for operating logistics drones.

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China is the world's biggest consumer market, and almost everything is available online now, making fast delivery service a necessity. In 2017, more than 40 billion parcels were shipped in the country, and that number is expected to climb by almost 25 percent this year. 

Chinese companies have sought the ability to deliver packages by drone since 2015 when Alibaba partnered with Shanghai YTO Express Logistics for a one-time trial, delivering packages of ginger tea by drone. JD.com, another Chinese online retailer that has its own delivery service, started building delivery drones last year and has tested its service in rural areas.

It's not known when S.F. Express will begin its testing or full deployment of drone delivery, but gaining the license to operate drones is a strong first step.