The Alibaba Group began testing drone delivery through its e-commerce site Taobao, bring tea to 450 doorsteps within an hour. Photo: Taobao.com
Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba is redefining high tea.
Drones are taking to the skies in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou to deliver tea to a test group of 450 shoppers using Alibaba’s website Taobao. The three-day trial of drone delivery service in the Chinese cities ends Friday as Alibaba continues to push its might across the globe.
Jane and Ned Snowball shopping online in 1984. Photo courtesy Aldrich Archive
A 72-year-old grandmother with a broken hip started the revolution with a television remote in her hand. She pointed it at the screen in her living room in 1984 and bought eggs, cornflakes and margarine.
Jane Snowball of Gateshead, England, spent a few pounds and became the first online shopper. In 2013, online shopping generated more than $1.2 trillion worldwide (with the promise of higher figures when 2014 numbers are reported).
Snowball did not use the computer as we know it. She used a device called Videotex, which merged media and business information systems and made them available to “outside correspondents.” She pressed a button on the remote with a phone icon and was able to connect to her local Tesco supermarket with a telephone number. The store received her list and delivered the items to her door.
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