Shanghai had the highest paid couriers in China in October, with monthly salaries peaking at RMB 8,200 ($1,180) ahead of the Double 11 shopping festival, testament to the growing demand for delivery services ahead of the peak season.

The data, released by and published by the Beijing Morning Post, also shows the national average salary for couriers reached RMB 7,169, increasing by 8.5% compared to October 2017. Hangzhou came in second with its highest courier salary reaching RMB 8,019, Nanjing third at RMB 7,911, and Beijing fourth at RMB 7,489. First-tier cities exhibited the highest demand for courier services.

The data shows Chengdu had the highest increase in courier salaries, rising by 15.66 % year-on-year.

In October, China’s four major courier services YTO Express, ZTO Express, STO Express, and Yunda Express announced that they were raising prices ahead of Double 11. The companies increased their fees for packages delivered from any city to Shanghai by RMB 0.5.

However, consumers don’t necessarily feel the effects of the rising prices. The companies operate a backbone of delivery networks, with customer-facing deliveries being run by franchise partners. The result is more of a price increase for their partners and not always felt by consumers.

The increase in demand is not limited to personnel in the courier industry. A surge in online consumption ahead of the Double 11 festival has resulted in increased demand for designers and programmers. Guangzhou showed the highest growth rates, with salaries rising 42% year-on-year.

Express delivery in China is a competitive space. In addition to well-established services like SF Express, YTO Express, and ZTO Express, and others, e-commerce giants are also entering the fray. Alibaba has entered the logistics sector through Cainiao, though it takes a platform approach relying on partner couriers. Recently,, which runs an in-house logistics division, expanded its offering to include express deliveries for individuals.

Christopher Udemans is TechNode's former Shanghai-based data and graphics reporter. He covered Chinese artificial intelligence, mobility, cleantech, and cybersecurity.

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