When reporters from Fawan secretly visited one courier center run by STO Express in the New World outlets located in Chongwenmen area, Beijing for the past two weeks, they found that the couriers were unwrapping the parcels to steal food and play with adult toys.

According to their observation, the courier center was unorganized, filled with parcels, and courier men were throwing the parcels which then hits the wall, and falls to the ground. When couriers unload parcels from the car, they will kick the courier boxes with their feet. In addition, the courier will open the damaged parcel, to steal food, and reportedly one courier opened the express delivery of adult toys to play with it in his hand, and then packed it back to the courier box and sealed it.

STO Express couriers picking their fingers into parcels. (Image Credit: 看法新闻)

In response to this report, STO Express issued a statement on its official Weibo account on November 17th. STO Express said that the problems associated with parcels will be fully rectified, and the staffs will be punished and educated, and the person in charge of suspended from their duties to prevent similar acts.

STO Express issued a statement on its official Weibo (Image Credit: STO Express)

This is bad news for Alibaba’s in-house logistics company Cainiao, who collaborates with STO Express on its express delivery service. For example, when we searched Cainiao and STO Express, we could see there are two Cainiao’s relay stations (菜鸟驿站) in Shanghai run by STO Express on Baidu map. Cainiao’s collaboration with STO Express is also shown in Cainiao relay station’s promotion video. 

Even before Cainiao confirmed their first ever Series A RMB 1 billion financing round on March 2016, STO Express has backed Cainiao as early as 2013, and the chairman of STO Express said that they invested in Cainiao to give face (给个面子). Chinese courier companies like YTO Express, STO Express, ZTO Express and SF Express invested RMB 50 million to take 1% share of Cainiao.

It’s also worth noting that YTO Express (圆通速递), STO Express, ZTO Express  (中通快递) are all from one family and called “三通一达 (meaning “Three “tongs” will get you through”). As they are tied with Alibaba’s Cainiao, they give a lot of logistics workload to these three courier players. The three courier brothers’ headquarter are all based in Shanghai’s Qingpu area. Alibaba and these “three Tong” courier companies have mutual investor ties, as  Alibaba also backed YTO Express.

Eva Yoo

Eva Yoo is Shanghai-based tech writer. Reach her at evayoo@technode.com

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