Express delivery giant STO Express reported 37.7% profit growth in 2018, a recovery following three years of lackluster results in the slowing Chinese courier market.

According to a filing released Wednesday, the Shenzhen-listed company earned RMB 17 billion ($2.5 billion) in revenue, a 34.4% year-on-year increase. Net profits surged 37.7% year-on-year to RMB 2 billion, which the company attributed to a rebound in its courier business in the last two quarters, and pointing to a marked pickup from the 17% year-on-year growth seen a year earlier. Improved performance in the back half of the year follow a significant uptick in research and development spend in 2018 from which significant IT upgrades and the development of intelligent business solutions resulted, reported media outlet Jiemian (in Chinese).

After going public in Shenzhen in 2016, STO’s growth slowed significantly. Its market share shrank to 9.7% from 16.5% in the period from 2014 to 2017, falling from the top of the heap to the bottom in its competition with peers ZTO, YTO, and Yunda, Jiemian reported citing Chinese broker Pingan Securities.

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Jill Shen

Jill Shen is Shanghai-based technology reporter. She covers Chinese mobility, autonomous vehicles, and electric cars. Connect with her via e-mail: jill.shen@technode.com or Twitter: @yushan_shen