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Logistics give a leg up in China's e-commerce battle

Reliable delivery won over customers during lockdown but will loyalty last?

HONG KONG -- When Huang Zhou was stuck at home in February due to the Covid-19 outbreak, Chinese e-commerce platform served a lifeline for her and her family in Guangzhou. Whenever she wanted to restock her cupboard or just have a bit of fruit, she placed an order with the online retailer without even checking anywhere else. Huang, after all, had little choice.

"All the e-commerce platforms in China suspended their delivery service during the lockdown, and was the only exception," Huang said. Lured by its ability to move goods around despite disrupted transportation, the 37-year-old shopped on at least twice a week during the outbreak. Previously, she said, she was a loyal customer of, an online marketplace run by Alibaba Group Holding, and only used occasionally.

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