Founder of courier service SF Express now worth more than Jack Ma

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Chinese courier SF Express saw its shares leap by the 10 percent daily limit for a fourth time after it went listed via a backdoor listing on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange on Feb. 23. This makes its market capitalization surpass 300 billion RMB (in Chinese).

Calculated based on the firm’s market value, SF Express chairman and founder Wang Wei’s personal wealth has ballooned to RMB 198.5 billion RMB as of Wednesday, beating out Jack Ma, founder of e-commerce giant Alibaba. His fortune, according to the world’s billionaires list compiled by Forbes, is estimated at around RMB 198.1 billion (US$ 28.7 billion).

Thanks to the booming e-commerce sector and as well as the courier’s good reputation, the Shenzhen-based company delivered stunning performances in recent years. The firm posted earnings of RMB 5.19 billion in 2016, up 82.48 percent year on year.

Yet challenges are looming ahead for SF Express. The courier is not that far ahead of its rivals when it comes to the financial strength that bolsters future business development. Its major rivals including ZTO Express, STO Express, and Shanghai YTO Express who all went public in 2016, riding the wave of turbo-charged growth in the sector.

Rising labor costs have posed great challenges to the courier with its staff numbering nearly 340,000. This may add to the financial burden of SF Express. Yang Daqing, a researcher with the China Society of Logistics, says that labor costs have risen to more than 50% of total service costs from 20% five years ago (in Chinese).