Online retailer JD.com has launched a highly automated 100,000 sq metre warehouse in Shanghai ahead of China’s “Singles Day” shopping spree in November – the world’s biggest e-commerce event. The warehouse, which has been in a trial phase since June, had the capacity to sort up to 16,000 packages an hour, the company said. JD has started construction on similar high-efficiency warehouses – dubbed “Asia No 1” facilities by the firm – in Guangzhou, Wuhan and Shenyang, with a further three planned for Beijing, Chengdu and Xian. It is the latest development in the fierce competition between Chinese online retailers such as Tmall, Gome and Suning. All departments must ensure prices lower than JD’s, or the directors can pack up and leave Mou Guixian, Gome e-commerce head In June, Gome announced it would deliver three times a day in 200 cities by the end of this year and has plans to eventually expand that to 400 cities. In August, Caixin Media reported leaked e-mails from Gome executives showing the firm was intent on overtaking rivals Suning and JD. Chief executive Wang Junzhou wrote to employees that he wanted Gome to beat Suning “in an all-round way”. “What our rivals did in five years, we should aim for in one, and what they did in three years, we should aim for in six months,” Wang wrote. E-commerce head Mou Guixian said in an e-mail that Gome must beat JD’s prices at all costs. “All departments must ensure prices lower than JD’s, or the directors can pack up and leave,” the e-mail said. Although Singles Day falls on November 11, JD will run promotions for more than a week between November 1 and November 12. Last year, it took in US$1.6 billion during its Singles Day sales, while Alibaba’s Taobao and Tmall reported a combined US$5.75 billion.