Photo: Reuters/Aly Song

Alibaba is set to launch its Silk Road headquarter in Xi’an city on Thursday as its logistics arm Cainiao signed a strategic cooperation agreement with the municipal government, with the aim of building up a smart logistics center to cover northwest China, The Paper reported.

Cainiao plans to introduce its next generation intelligent storage base equipped with AI and robots, in order to accelerate the logistic speed and fulfill the demand of One Belt One Road business in the area.

The company will first invest 1 billion yuan (US$160 million) to build up a high-tech driven logistics hub, introducing technologies such as fully automated assembly lines, AGV robots and robotic arms. The project is scheduled to begin construction in 2018, and expected to be put into operation in 2019.

Other than the smart logistics base project, Alibaba has also signed on to 12 other projects with the Xi’an government, including the Xi’an Alibaba Innovation center and the Xi’an city transportation brain.