Editor's note: THIS IS CHINA is an original animated series CGTN Digital presents for the upcoming Two Sessions. Each episode focuses on the most popular topics and trends in China, recounting how China's economy and society, guided by government policies, have evolved in the new era.
The key term in this episode: Delivery for literally everything.
People still remember the time when everyone had to stay at home during the outbreak of the novel coronavirus. While the lockdown suspended almost all the daily operation activities, online businesses and delivery services thrived, serving as a link to help millions get all their daily essentials without leaving home.
In China, the delivery service industry goes far beyond food – it's a platform for multiple errands and the COVID-19 pandemic has made sure that everyone is aware of that.
Everything is deliverable
Data published by Chinese delivery apps showed that the volume of non-food orders grew by more than 77 percent during the Chinese New Year holiday period, a time when people stayed home due to the coronavirus outbreak. Among others, consumers purchased over five million face masks through delivery apps.
At the early stage of the outbreak, delivery services in China also took on the responsibility of sending medical supplies donated from home and abroad to hospitals in Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak in China.
In fact, long before the epidemic, the delivery industry in China had developed diversified services tailored for different needs.
The widespread popularity of mobile internet and the diverse demands of customers further fostered the growth of the industry, but it was the epidemic that brought the industry under the spotlight as people made orders ranging from food, medicines to kitchenware, books and home fitness equipment via internet to help them go through the difficult time.
A promising industry
China's delivery industry has experienced a remarkable growth since 2015 and the pandemic will help the trend gain momentum.
A report jointly published by Meituan and the Chinese Restaurant Association showed that, from 2015 to 2018, the amount of transactions conducted in the delivery industry has increased by 2.42 times.
In 2019, the transaction amount was expected to reach 603.5 billion yuan (85.03 billion U.S. dollars), accounting for approximately 15 percent of the total income of the catering industry in China.
The rapid development of the industry is the result of competitive prices, fast speed and diverse product range. Taking the food delivery as an example, from ordering food on a platform to the deliveryman arriving right at the registered address, the whole process usually takes 10 to 30 minutes with (sometimes) a delivery fee ranging from 1 to 5 yuan (less than one U.S. dollar). If the delivery takes longer than the expected time, a compensation will be granted.
Chinese delivery platforms boast 420 million registered users, 5.9 million businesses together with at least 6.98 million full-time delivery workers.
Thanks to the widespread popularity of mobile web and increased consumption trends, delivery for literally everything is no longer a slogan. Instead, the delivery services have become an inseparable part of people's daily lives.
As a beneficiary of modern technology, China's delivery industry will surely play an important role in stimulating the country's economy and keep bringing convenience to everyday lives.