No more lugging of heavy luggage when there are express deliverymen

Updated: 2015-02-18 14:43

By Li Wenfang in Guangzhou(China Daily)

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No more lugging of heavy luggage when there are express deliverymen

The period before Spring Festival is one of the busiest for couriers. [Photo by Wang Biao/For China Daily]

It used to be burdensome for many Chinese to return home for the annual Spring Festival. They had to lug along gifts - some of them heavy - for their parents and relatives.

But in recent years, e-shopping and courier services have come to their rescue.

Fu Chen, a human resources manager in Dongguan Hsu Chi Food Co in Guangdong province, has enjoyed such convenience in the past three years.

He used to have to carry two suitcases and a carry-on bag for his trip home to Dazhou, Sichuan province, for the Spring Festival reunion. But he has since been taking along just one carry-on for his personal belongings.

Express deliverymen take care of the new clothes and toys that he has ordered online to be sent to his parents' address. Previously, he had to carry heavy luggage home and keep an eye on them in the train.

In the train, the luggage of other passengers filled up the overhead racks, the aisles and the space underneath the seats.

"The train looked like a freight train," Fu says. "But I notice that there is less luggage in the past two years."

Fu's colleague, Liu Yafeng, had ordered nuts online and is expecting them to be delivered to her parents in Xi'an, Shaanxi province, before she arrives home.

Wang Rui, a student of Jinan University in Guangzhou, Guangdong, used the courier not only to ship Guangdong specialty food and an electric massager that she has bought online to her family home in Anhui province, but also her winter clothes and books. It is much colder in Anhui than in Guangdong.

She has also ordered a durian online for her family.

Travelers like them contributed to 48.7 percent annualized growth in e-shopping in China last year, which was worth 2.8 trillion yuan ($448.2 billion), according to statistics from consultancy iResearch Group.

The country's courier industry swelled by 52 percent to 14 billion items, or 204 billion yuan, up 42 percent, last year, according to State Post Bureau.

More than 2.807 billion road, railway, air and ship trips are expected to take place in the 40 days that go with the week-long Spring Festival holiday, according to the National Reform and Development Commission.

More consumers are buying Spring Festival-related products online, Pan Biao, vice-president of Yihaodian, one of the largest e-shopping websites, told the media earlier.

Still, despite the convenience, some have chosen to do it the traditional way.

Guo Fengwan, a fellow student of Wang's, decided to take his gifts of food, cosmetics and food supplements home in Anhui by himself to give his family a surprise.

Wei Yunyun from the Ningxia Hui autonomous region and also Wang's fellow student, believes that chocolate sold at a physical store is safer.

Li Weiwei, a student of Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, had his gift - Longjing tea - that he has bought online delivered to his school, to check the quality, and takes it to his family in Guangdong in person. As he sees it, there is more sincerity in doing so. He did, however, courier winter clothes and beddings home to reduce his luggage burden.

But the Internet technology has not reached everyone yet. Some farmers-turned-city workers, for example, who earn a low income and are not familiar with shopping online, have continued to carry a number of bags with them home, says Xiao Fen, a teacher with the Guangzhou Institute of Railway Technology.

"I saw people carrying rice cookers and other large, heavy objects," says Xiao, who has been guiding her students' voluntary work in train services during the Spring Festival travel rush in recent years.