(Yicai Global) March 1 -- One of China's largest online retailers JD.Com Inc. has teamed up with a state-backed research institution to track bird nest imports using blockchain technology and guard against counterfeits.
The Beijing-based firm announced its partnership with the Chinese Academy of Inspection and Quarantine on Feb. 27, the same day archrival Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. unveiled similar plans, online news agency Kuai Keji reported. The deal will see JD.Com integrate its own blockchain developments with the institution's tracking system, allowing visual monitoring of bird nests in transit.
Bird nests are one of the fastest growing traditional Chinese foods, a JD.Com executive said, adding that his company had become the country's largest retail channel for the product. The foodstuff is generally imported from Southeast Asia, but there are many poor quality, dyed and counterfeit nests mixed in with high-quality batches.
Blockchain, a digital ledger which holds public records of transactions, is best known for its role in cryptocurrencies but has a wide array of uses. One firm even hopes to crack down on voter fraud using the technology. Despite shutting down local virtual currency exchanges, China is keen to press on with blockchain development and more and more venture capital firms are banking on its success.
JD.Com will attach unique identifying codes to all bird nests it imports, so consumers can see online who made and sold the product, where it was stored and where it is in the delivery process. Buyers can also scan QR codes on delivered goods to check the product details.
Alibaba's cross-border e-commerce platform Tmall International and its logistics arm Cainiao Network Technology Group have begun using blockchain to track all imports through the online retail outlet.