Double 11 sales a huge boom for China's courier firms
WHILE Alibaba, China's e-commerce giant, has generated record online sales of US$14.3 billion (S$20.2 billion) for this year's Single's Day shopping carnival, the volume of items purchased at bargain prices on Nov 11 has also produced huge figures for courier companies, reported Chinese media.
In just one province, Zhejiang in south-east China, where Alibaba is headquartered, the more than 140,000 people employed to sort out the huge mass of parcels at local courier companies from Nov 10 to 19 were reported to have covered 42 million km by foot.
That was equivalent to having travelled round the earth 1,000 times, reported the Qiantang Evening Daily.
The distance they walked was mainly up and down a long moving belt on which the Double 11 parcels flowed in wave after wave for the workers to inspect and sort into different crates.
One female sorter, whose paces along a 90m belt were counted on one of her 14-hour working days, was found to have covered about 30.1 km by the time she left work, said Qiantang Evening Daily.
According to the Zhejiang branch of the China Post, courier firms in the province accepted a total of 243 million parcels this Double 11 period and delivered 86 million pieces in 10 days.
The figures were about 60 per cent and 37 per cent higher than last year's.
The branch also said there were nearly 9,000 more delivery trucks this year to serve the event, compared with last year, bringing the total figure to more than 16,000.
The number of people employed also exceeded last year's by 40,000, the branch added.
According to bbs.taobao.com, Alibaba's online forum, the provinces of Zhejiang, neighbouring Jiangsu and southern Guangdong are where most Chinese online retailers congregate as they supply better-made as well as cheaper products than the rest of the country.
On the national level, the China Post said a record 780 million items were being processed between Nov 11 and 16, almost 45 per cent more than last year, reported the China Business Journal.
Also, the period saw the highest volume processed in a day - 160,000 million, or nearly 55 per cent above last year's record, said the newspaper. It also revealed that 1.7 million people were employed nationwide in the delivery chain, including hourly workers and students.
"On a normal day, a courier has to deliver about 3,000 to 4,000 items. But during this Double 11, the volume rose to 10,000. You could imagine the pressure on them," said the manager of a Beijing-based courier company.
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