China's second largest e-commerce giant is developing a drone that can deliver packages weighing as much as one metric ton throughout rural areas of the country, according to JD.com's Chief Technology Officer (CTO).
"So today, as you have seen in China, e-commerce is huge but in remote villages most people are not benefitting from e-commerce… so to solve that problem we will develop our drone program," Chen Zhang told CNBC at the Consumer Electronics Show in Asia on Thursday.
Chen explained JD.com has seven different types of delivery drones in testing or operation across four provinces in China.
The company has drones that can fly up to 100km per hour, delivering packages weighing from 5kg to 30kg, and is testing drones which can carry as much as 1,000kg - or one metric ton. The maximum distance they can travel is approximately 100km before recharging.
While JD.com's drones are now able to carry heavier weights and travel further at a faster pace, Chen bemoaned the industry's persistent struggles with battery power. He explained, "The battery cost today is still very high… it is a major issue we need to address."