Bachelors flex their muscles
Mainland courier firms see record 'Singles' Day' parcel deliveries to HK
Hong Kong maybe already a shopping paradise, but a large number of Hong Kong shoppers is set to take advantage of Nov 11 - the mainland's biggest online shopping festival known as "Singles' Day or "Bachelors' Day" - on which online stores offer major promotions and deep discounts to lure customers.
Deng Youjun, vice-president of Yuan Tong Express Co Ltd (YTO) - one of the mainland's largest express delivery firms - said in Shanghai on Monday that for this year's "Singles' Day", up to 10 tons, or 2,500 parcels of goods purchased by Hong Kong clients online, will be delivered to the SAR from the mainland, more than double last year's record figure.
He said YTO had established a wholly-owned subsidiary in Hong Kong in 2010 and, currently, its network is able to make deliveries to all parts of the city.
At present, the daily express delivery volume between Hong Kong and the mainland is about four tons, or around 1,000 parcels, Deng said, adding most of the deliveries are from the mainland to Hong Kong.
YTO now has 50 employees in Hong Kong and, in order to deal with the upcoming online shopping rush, it has hired many temporary workers.
While many Hong Kong people are enjoying shopping online through mainland e-commerce portals, many complain about the high delivery fees and a relatively long waiting period.
Deng said YTO charges an additional HK$20-HK$30 for each delivery to remote areas in Hong Kong and residential buildings, which is a "common practice among the express delivery industry". He admits that Hong Kong consumers may have to wait longer to receive their packages as a new Customs clearance system has been implemented by Shenzhen Customs authorities, and YTO is working on finding the best solution to cope with the new system.
As one of the country's major delivery companies, the company collected and received 12 million parcels on Nov 11 last year, the majority of them from Alibaba's online shopping platforms Taobao Marketplace and Tmall.com.
For this year's "Singles' Day", the company expects to receive 18 million packages, 17 million of which would be from Taobao and Tmall.
Nov 11 was promoted as a 24-hour online sales day in 2009. On the same day last year, Alibaba Group, the world's largest e-commerce company which owns Taobao Marketplace and Tmall.com, recorded 254 transactions with a total value of 36.2 billion yuan ($5.9 biliion).
It's widely believed that the total transaction value for November 11 this year will surpass last year's record.
Many retail companies, including Daphne International Holdings Ltd, a Taiwan women's shoes retailer listed in Hong Kong, consider the day as one of their most important sales days of the year. Hu Huanxin, chief operating officer at Daphne, said the company began preparing for this year's online shopping festival as early as three months ago.
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Daphne has hired 250 temporary staff at its main e-commerce warehouse in Suzhou, Jiangsu province, to help process online orders, pack parcels and load them onto trucks for shipment to customers, he said.
Hu said the company established an e-commerce warehouse in Dongguan, Guangdong province, this year to help meet growing demand from customers in southern China.
Daphne's sales generated from e-commerce achieved a 200-percent, year-on-year growth in 2013. For the first half of this year, its e-commerce sales soared by more than 100 percent, Hu said, adding that the company expects to see continued rapid growth in e-commerce sales in the coming years.
Albert Jang, logistics director of Daphne's Logistics Management Department, said the company has prepared 1.3 million pairs of shoes at its two e-commerce warehouses for this year's online shopping festival. Last year, it prepared 600,000 pairs of shoes.