A lot of glory goes to the companies in China’s e-commerce and O2O market, but behind every food order and Taobao purchase is a delivery person, hustling the last mile in a complex system of logistics.

China’s retail e-commerce and O2O food delivery market is the the largest in the world. According to research provider eMarketer, sales from China’s retail e-commerce industry will hit $899 billion USD by the end of this year. Last November during Singles Day, the largest shopping day of the year in China, Alibaba’s logistics arms Cainiao claimed it processed more than 300 million delivery orders. Needless to say, there’s a lot of money resting on the shoulders of China’s “little brothers” (小哥) – a popular nickname for deliverymen in China.

In meeting the demand of millions of consumers, China’s delivery system has developed quirks and innovations of its own. Here are four that we think you should know about:

Start your free trial now.

Get instant access to all our premium content, archives, newsletters, and online community.

Monthly Membership

Yearly Membership

What you get

Full access to all premium content and our full archives

Members'-only newsletters

Preferential access and discounts to all TechNode events

Direct access to the TechNode newsroom

Start your free trial now.

Get instant access to all our premium content, archives, newsletters, and online community.

Monthly Membership

Yearly Membership

Eva Xiao

Eva Xiao is a tech reporter based in Shanghai. Contact her at eva.xiao@technode.com or evawxiao (wechat & twitter).