Alibaba Runs Drone Delivery Trial in China While Amazon Waits on US Approval

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba began its first trial drone deliveries this week. Meanwhile, Amazon continues to sit on its haunches in the United States, waiting on approval for a similar drone test program.

The Chinese drones are delivering ginger tea packets to 450 people in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, Bloomberg reports.

“The flights, if successful and uncontested by authorities, would give the budding commercial drone industry a boost in China, where the military allots only a fifth of the airspace to civilian use,” Bloomberg said.

Alibaba’s drone tests are undoubtedly frustrating for Amazon, which is struggling to launch a drone-testing program in the United States. According to Bloomberg, Amazon has begun testing remote deliveries outside the country, but is still waiting for the Federal Aviation Administration to approve U.S. tests.

Zhang Qihuai, an attorney at Lanpeng Law Firm in China, told Bloomberg that a lot of work needs to be done before commercial drone deliveries can move forward.

“China is still in the initial phase of establishing regulations on commercial usage of drones, a lot of areas are still completely blank,” Zhang said.

Although it looks like the Chinese e-tailer is beating Amazon to the punch, Forbes said the Alibaba drone testing is primarily a publicity stunt.

It’s the same as if a drone delivered you a K-Cup, yet you’d still need the Keurig machine to get the end product. Until they figure out how to deliver hot tea in a cup that’s ready to be consumed on delivery, this is nothing more than a gimmick and even less something that’s economically viable.

The Chinese drone’s maximum payload is about two pounds, but the tea packets they’re delivering only weigh a few ounces. Forbes noted:

But even if these drones were to deliver other products, the options for drone delivery would be very limited. So unless you need a toothbrush or one shoe, you’ll have to select the traditional, manned shipping options.

According to Forbes, drone deliveries will not become a reality until regulations are set for unmanned aircraft and technology improves.

What do you think of the potential for drone deliveries in the U.S.? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
7 Things I Never Buy at Costco
7 Things I Never Buy at Costco

A bulk buy isn’t always the best buy.

14 Products That Keep Foods Fresh Longer
14 Products That Keep Foods Fresh Longer

We’ve rounded up innovative Amazon purchases to lengthen the life of your favorite foods and beverages.

How Baby Boomers Are Earning an Extra $573 a Month
How Baby Boomers Are Earning an Extra $573 a Month

In the gig economy, baby boomers are out-hustling their younger competition. You can cash in, too.

7 Ways to Shop at Costco Without a Membership
7 Ways to Shop at Costco Without a Membership

You don’t necessarily need to join to get in on the warehouse store’s savings.

27 Things You Should Never Pay For — and How to Get Them for Free
27 Things You Should Never Pay For — and How to Get Them for Free

When you know the tricks, you can save big on all kinds of useful things that others pay for.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
10 Things Frugal People Never Buy
10 Things Frugal People Never Buy

If you’re a true tightwad, the mere thought of spending money on these items gives you the willies.

7 Social Security Benefits You May Be Overlooking
7 Social Security Benefits You May Be Overlooking

There’s more to Social Security than retirement benefits.

If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

Whether you resell it for a big profit or add it to your own wardrobe, this type of clothing is a hidden steal.

10 Cars You Are Most Likely to Keep for 15 Years
10 Cars You Are Most Likely to Keep for 15 Years

The cars that owners hold onto the longest have one thing in common, a new study shows.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

The 6 Best Investing Apps for Beginners
The 6 Best Investing Apps for Beginners

If you’re looking to ease into investing in the coronavirus economy with just a little money, check out these easy-to-use tools.

14 Things You Should Stop Buying in 2021
14 Things You Should Stop Buying in 2021

These convenient household products come with hidden costs that you might not have considered.

7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

8 Things You Should Replace to Improve Your Life Today
8 Things You Should Replace to Improve Your Life Today

Being frugal isn’t smart if you put off replacing these items.

9 Things You Should Never Leave in a Car
9 Things You Should Never Leave in a Car

Thinking of leaving these possessions in a car? Prepare for unexpected consequences.

9 Mistakes People Make When Cleaning With Vinegar
9 Mistakes People Make When Cleaning With Vinegar

Cleaning with vinegar can save you a lot of money, but using it like this can cost you.

13 Amazon Purchases We Are Loving Right Now
13 Amazon Purchases We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

7 Income Tax Breaks That Retirees Often Overlook
7 Income Tax Breaks That Retirees Often Overlook

Did you realize all these tax credits and deductions exist — or that they apply to retirees?

10 Things Successful Retirees Do Differently
10 Things Successful Retirees Do Differently

These habits and characteristics can help put you on the track to success.

7 Costly Health Problems That Strike After Age 50
7 Costly Health Problems That Strike After Age 50

As we age, our bodies wear down. Here is how to cut costs associated with some common ailments.

29 Purchases That Can Save You Money Every Day
29 Purchases That Can Save You Money Every Day

Sometimes, you’ve got to spend to save.

5 Tax Mistakes to Avoid in Retirement
5 Tax Mistakes to Avoid in Retirement

Even great savers can reduce their retirement income by making these mistakes.

2 Financial Woes That Can Signal the Start of Dementia
2 Financial Woes That Can Signal the Start of Dementia

These money management issues can hint at dementia years prior to diagnosis, a new study finds.

7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast
7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast

Your financial security might soon depend upon the strength of your credit score.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.