Send Packages in China

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All over China, scooters speed along the streets and sidewalks, dodging people and cars, and weaving through traffic. They are the transportation of choice for delivery services of all kinds, generically referred to as kuàidì 快递 (express delivery). With the growth of online shopping, express delivery has grown rapidly in the last few years. Originally, only the post office (China Post) provided delivery service in China. They don't have a reputation for reliability, especially with postcards which have a 1/3 success rate, anecdotally.

The privately owned delivery services in China developed at the same time as mobile apps and so were able to provide convenient services through apps. Even the post office eventually created an app to facilitate sending packages. Now, just like any business in China, you can send a package from within the "can't-live-without" apps WeChat and AliPay. Enter the address where you want to send an item and the approximate size and weight, then a delivery person picks the item up, helping you complete the address form.

China Post/EMS (Express Mail Service)
中国邮政速递物流
Good for sending things cheaply but slowly

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China Post is the official state-owned delivery service of China. They are the post office and developed an express delivery service EMS. Before the private companies started rivaling their express service, China Post was the only option for mailing packages. It still provides regular mail service but is not the preferred service for packages. The benefit is they deliver to every household in China whereas the private companies often only operate in cities and don't reach rural residents. EMS/China Post, while unreliable, is the cheapest and slowest option but provides smooth customs service for international items.

SF Express
顺丰
Good for sending important or valuable items quickly

SF Express is the fastest and most reliable private delivery company but also the most expensive. They send internationally to 43 locations and are expanding their global service so they are mostly used for domestic deliveries. They are known for their excellent service and specialize in intracity deliveries plus rush orders, the fastest option being 30 minute delivery in major mainland cities.

 

Other delivery companies in China are a good option for sending average items that aren't particularly valuable or urgent: 百世汇通 Best Express、申通 STO Express、中通 ZTO Express、圆通 YTO Express、韵达 Yunda Express.


This article is part of our new online Chinese course. An efficient way to learn Chinese language for working and living in China.