Fre­netic de­liv­ery pace isn’t slow­ing down

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - By HE QI in Shang­hai [email protected]­nadaily.com.cn

China’s boom­ing on-de­mand ser­vices mar­ket has cre­ated mil­lions of de­liv­ery job op­por­tu­ni­ties for mi­grant work­ers from ru­ral ar­eas, whose quick work has be­come in­dis­pens­able in ur­ban life.

De­spite long work­ing hours and in­tense dead­lines, de­liv­ery jobs have al­lowed many to set­tle in cities and earn a de­cent salary to sup­port their fam­i­lies, ac­cord­ing to two re­cent re­ports re­leased by the coun­try’s two lead­ing ser­vices.

In its 2018 In­sight Re­port on De­liv­ery­men re­leased on Fri­day, Feng­niao De­liv­ery — which is owned by in­ter­net gi­ant Alibaba Group and is re­spon­si­ble for its on­line-to-off­line, or O2O, de­liv­ery ser­vices, in­clud­ing its food cater­ing arm Ele.me — said 84 per­cent of its 3 mil­lion reg­is­tered de­liv­ery driv­ers come from ru­ral ar­eas.

Meituan, which ac­counted for 41 per­cent of China’s food de­liv­ery mar­ket in the first quar­ter of 2018, com­pared with Ele.me’s 55 per­cent, re­leased a sim­i­lar re­port in May. The re­port, based on a sur­vey on Meituan’s more than 38,000 reg­is­tered de­liv­ery driv­ers, said more than three-quarters of the com­pany’s nearly 2.3 mil­lion reg­is­tered de­liv­ery riders have ru­ral ori­gins.

While An­hui province tops the home­town list of couri­ers reg­is­tered with both com­pa­nies, He­nan and Sichuan prov­inces are also ma­jor sources of the de­liv­ery work­force at Meituan.

The re­port from Feng­niao shows the av­er­age driver to be 29 years old; the re­port from Meituan said that more than 80 per­cent of its riders were born in the 1980s and 1990s. Each driver, or rider, de­liv­ers 48 or­ders per day on av­er­age, rack­ing up a to­tal dis­tance of 150 kilo­me­ters, the re­ports said.

De­spite long work­ing hours and in­tense dead­lines at peak hours, the couri­ers are at­tracted to the city by the flex­i­ble work­ing hours, low en­try re­quire­ments and rel­a­tively high pay.

Both re­ports said most de­liv­ery driv­ers earn 4,000 to 8,000 yuan ($584 to $1,168) per month, out­strip­ping the 2017 av­er­age monthly salary of em­ploy­ees in the do­mes­tic pri­vate sec­tor, which was 3,813 yuan.

While males still dom­i­nate in the de­liv­ery ser­vice, more fe­males — ac­count­ing for around 10 per­cent — are join­ing in as a part-time job, the re­ports said.

The work at­tracts well-ed­u­cated peo­ple, too, with both com­pa­nies say­ing 16 to 20 per­cent of their reg­is­tered de­liv­ery­men have a bach­e­lor or as­so­ciate de­gree.

Un­like the pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tion of mi­grant work­ers, th­ese de­liv­ery­men tend to set­tle in a city for many years partly be­cause their ser­vice has be­come em­bed­ded in ur­ban life. More than half of Meituan’s driv­ers said they have been liv­ing in the city where they cur­rently work for more than nine years.

Ac­cord­ing to Chi­nese re­search firm iiMe­dia Re­search, in­stant de­liv­ery in the first three quarters of 2018 ex­ceeded 15.3 bil­lion or­ders, more than dou­ble the 6.3 bil­lion in the same pe­riod of 2017. An­a­lysts from iiMe­dia Re­search be­lieve the de­mand for in­stant de­liv­ery ser­vices will con­tinue to ex­pand.

Chen Longjun, from the Xin­jiang Uygur au­ton­o­mous re­gion, has been a de­liv­ery­man in Shang­hai for more than three years. He’s been dubbed “or­der de­liv­ery king” for de­liv­er­ing an av­er­age of 100 or­ders per day. He earns 30,000 yuan per month.

Chen, 31, said he works 15 hours per day but still ap­pre­ci­ates the job since it helps him af­ford an 80-square-me­ter apart­ment in Ji­ashan, Zhe­jiang province.

“Good traf­fic fa­cil­i­ties and con­di­tions are the rea­sons for me to de­liver in Shang­hai,” Chen said.

“We bear a lot of bur­dens when we have fewer or­ders, es­pe­cially in harsh weather con­di­tions or dur­ing emer­gen­cies, but the job al­lows me to make friends and, more im­por­tantly, to im­prove my eco­nomic con­di­tion.”

LIAN GUOQING / FOR CHINA DAILY

Food couri­ers gather to ad­vo­cate bet­ter traf­fic safety in Hangzhou, Zhe­jiang province, in Novem­ber.

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