This year marks a year of China’s decisive victory for the elimination of poverty. Giving full play to its advantages, the postal industry has contributed important power to China’s poverty alleviation.
Ma Junsheng, head of the State Post Bureau, introduced how China’s postal and delivery enterprises have facilitated the country’s anti-poverty efforts at a recent press conference held by the State Council Information Office (SCIO).
A postal network that covers both urban and rural areas and benefits all people has been established, thanks to the country’s efforts to develop rural postal and delivery services, Ma said, adding that China has continuously expanded the rural postal and delivery network, and launched three major projects to build rural postal offices, extend the reach of delivery services to the countryside and introduce direct postal services to incorporated villages.
According to him, China has established postal offices in all townships, achieved its goal of covering all incorporated villages with direct postal services, and express delivery outlets have been set up in 97 percent of the townships across the country. Last year, 15 billion parcels were delivered in rural areas, and that figure rose to 20 billion in the first eight months of this year. The growth of express delivery handling capacity in rural areas is 10 percent higher than that in cities.
To extend the reach of delivery services in rural areas is a key measure to solve the unbalanced and inadequate development problems of the postal industry, as well as a fundamental project that drives rural e-commerce and consumption.
Ma introduced that China was still suffering from insufficient development of rural delivery services 7 years ago. Back then, the delivery ended in counties, so rural residents had to take rides to the counties to fetch their parcels. Since China launched an initiative to expand rural delivery networks in 2014, more and more rural areas have been covered by delivery services. As the end of August this year, delivery services had reached 97.7 percent of China’s rural regions. Before 2015, 36,000 incorporated villages in the country had no direct postal services, and such services had been introduced to all incorporated villages as of the end of August last year. So far, China has 40,000 rural postal offices, as well as over 500,000 village-level service stations, 310,000 of which have launched e-commerce centers. The total lengths of postal routes among these centers add up to 5.05 million kilometers.
Ma introduced that China will better exploit the advantages of its postal networks at county-, township- and village-levels, and expand their functions by aligning them with government, police affair and tax services.
Besides, the country will also spend more efforts to strengthen its national mail delivery network, Ma said. The network is the only one in the country that reaches all incorporated villages, thus enjoying abundant offline resources. Last year, the network handled over 2 billion parcels, helping the country sell over 16.5 billion yuan ($2.4 billion) of agricultural products.
In addition, the country will also offer postal finance services for farmers, Ma added. As of the end of June this year, the outstanding balance of bank loans issued by national branches of the Postal Savings Bank of China to agriculture, rural areas and farmers reached 1.35 trillion yuan, and that for targeted poverty alleviation stood at 90.2 billion yuan. Besides, a total of 14.3 billion yuan of petty loans was issued for poverty alleviation.
According to Ma, China will focus its efforts on developing targeted poverty alleviation projects and pioneers to promote regional poverty alleviation by creating role models. Since 2014, major delivery companies have created more than 1.5 million jobs for impoverished areas, he said. During the first eight months of this year, the postal and express industry has created more than 150,000 jobs in rural areas and helped 100,000 financially-strapped households in 504 national-level poverty-stricken counties increase incomes by over 100 million yuan.
As China continues its efforts of production resumption, the postal industry has witnessed remarkable progress. In the first 8 months of this year, its total business volume reached more than 1.2 trillion yuan, and the business revenue was nearly 680 billion yuan. And 48 billion parcels were handled, up 25 percent from a year ago.
The numbers of delivery parcels handled in China had just exceeded 50 billion this year, and is expected to hit 60 billion in October, Ma said, attributing the performance to the rural market.
He introduced that more emphasis will be placed on the country’s efforts to extend delivery services to villages. At present, express delivery outlets have been set up in 97 percent of the townships, but only around 40 percent of the villages. According to him, the problem will be solved in the next three years.