There are mainly three types of express companies in China, one of which is the private express company which serves as the main body of the domestic express transportation, including SFEXPRESS, SHENTONG EXPRESS and YTOEXPRESS. The second type is state-owned express service EMS, operated by China Post. International express companies constitute the third categories, among which there are DHL, FEDEX, UPS, etc.
As International courier service companies rarely carry out domestic courier services in China (mainly due to fewer outlets and uncompetitive pricing policy), this paper will mainly focus on introducing the private and state-owned Chinese express companies.
1. SF EXPRESS
SFExpress network is completely self-built and self-run. Its posts include Domestic local delivery, delivery within and between the provinces, delivery to Hong Kong, same-day delivery, delivery by next morning. And it also provides postage collect service, postage prepaid service and the third party payment service. As many outlets are not set out in uniformity, some of the outlet cannot provide the postage collect service. Even when the service can be conducted, the charge is often higher than the usual.
Freight Rates: the price for the first kilogram is 20 Yuan / kg, and each added kilogram will be a 10 Yuan / kg (for shipping volume a discount price can be applied.)
Payout: The maximum payout is 6 times the freight price, with no regard to difference between the goods insured and not insured. And the payouts for the lost or damaged goods are all the same.
Advantages: high-quality service, fast, secure, individual packaging, high-quality staff, and reassuring service
Disadvantages: relatively higher rate, incomplete setup of the distribution network, and major business activities are carried out in the South of China.
SFExpress and the postal EMS are of a similar price rate. Although last year SFExpress suffered a loss of hundreds of millions, it can still afford chartered planes, hence its speedy and safe delivery. And its post-delivery operations are quite formal; as a result, its services and charges are directly proportional.
Generally, trading companies prefer to send the file with the SF Express, because of its relatively fast speed and better safety measures. SFExpress is also choosen for posts with more urgency. But for heavier goods with less urgency, generally other express companies such as STO or YTO will be chosen in order to reduce the cost.
2. SHENTONG EXPRESS (STO)
STO has established more than 800 branches in provincial capital cities (except Taiwan) and large and medium-sized cities, has been absorbed more than 1100 franchised outlets with over 20,000 employees. STO mainly carries on express business of non-letter, samples and articles of different sizes within the city and between provinces.
Freight Rates: Price for the first kilogram is 15 Yuan, and each added kilogram will be a 3 Yuan / kg. (Prices differ in different regions. Discount is available for large quantity.)
Payout: There is payout for lost articles: if insured, the payout is less than or equal to 1000 yuan. Also there is payout for damaged articles: if not insured, less than or equal to 300 yuan.
Advantages: STO has more outlets and moderate cost.
Disadvantages: Poor service and slow speed
STO is the second largest private-own express company.
3. YTO EXPRESS
YTO’s service covers customs clearance, commodity inspection, shipping, air transport services of import and export goods; professional logistics transit, international and domestic intermodal; distribution, warehousing and special transportation services. YTO also provides domestic and international time-limited services.
Freight Rates: Price for the first kilogram is 8 Yuan, and each added kilogram will be a 6 Yuan / kg. (Prices differ in different regions. Discount is available for large quantity.)
Payout: There is payout for lost articles: if not insured, the payout is less than or equal to 1500 yuan; if insured, the rate is 1%, and the payout is less than or equal to 10,000 yuan. The payout for damaged articles is 3 or 5 times of freight charges if not insured; if insured, the rate is 1%, and the payout is less than or equal to 10,000 yuan.
Advantages: Low price, delivery time is usually 3-4 days
Disadvantages: YTO doesn’t have a wide range of outlets. And articles may be lost occasionally.
YTO is more popular with northern part of China. Its price is relatively low, thus more commonly chosen. Number of outlets is acceptable.
4. YUNDA EXPRESS
With more than 1000 qualified service sites, YUNDA is one of the most mainstream domestic brands.
Freight Rates: Price for the first kilogram is 10 Yuan, and each added kilogram will be a 6 Yuan / kg. (Prices differ in different regions. Discount is available for large quantity.)
Payout: There is payout for lost articles: if not insured, the payout is less than or equal to 1000 yuan; if insured, the rate is 1%, and the payout is less than or equal to 2,000 yuan. The payout for damaged articles is 3 times of freight charges if not insured; if insured, the rate is 1%, and the payout is less than or equal to 2,000 yuan.
Advantages: Reasonable price, delivery time is usually 3-4 days
Disadvantages: Relatively speaking, YUNDA doesn’t have so much outlets, and its service is not very good.
This express company has fair price but slow delivery speed. Motor carriers are often used, which could not be controlled by the seller. Actually I know about this detail afterwards.
YUNDA’s business is mainly in Jiangsu and Zhenjiang Provinces, and it has lots of outlets.
5. ZTO EXPRESS
ZTO’s service includes domestic express and international express, logistics, distribution, warehousing services, “door-to-door “service and time-limited (same day, next morning, next day, etc.) service. At the same time, it also has value-added service of e-commerce and distribution, collection of trade charges, return of signed bill and article pick up. ZTO has nearly 1,800 service networks, 36 distribution center and more than 5,000 vehicles for transportation and delivery.
The price is reasonable with no conspicuous discount, and is higher in remote areas. Delivery speed is ordinary.
6. TTK EXPRESS
Now TTK express has over 20 collecting and distributing centers with a network covering more than 1,200 cities in the country. With more than 3,000 outlets, an express network layout emphasizing the Pearl River Delta, Yangtze River Delta, and Bohai Bay area is established. It provides service to customers 360 days all the year round.
TTK doesn’t have a lot of outlets and discount. In that case, it will not be chosen without the buyer’s appointment.
EMS is express service provided by China Post. Worldwide express mail service has wholly-owned subsidiaries in 31 provinces (autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the Central Government); it also has subsidiaries such as China Postal Airlines and CNPL. By the end of 2010, its registered capital is 8 billion yuan with an asset size of more than 21 billion yuan and nearly 10 million employees. The scope of business covers 31 provinces (autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the Central Government) and all cities, counties and towns. Its services reaches more than 200 countries and regions all over the world, including Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan. No company could be compared with EMS in terms of service outlets.
EMS charge the same as SF EXPRESS, but its delivery speed is much slower and service is worse compared with private-owned companies. So normally speaking, private-owned companies will be chosen unless the article needs to be delivered to remote areas where other companies have no service branches.