Employees sort parcels at a logistics center of ZTO Express in Fuyang, Anhui province, during the Alibaba 11.11 global shopping festival on November 11, 2017. Photo: Reuters / Stringer
Employees sort parcels at a logistics center of ZTO Express in Fuyang, Anhui province, during the Alibaba 11.11 global shopping festival in 2017. Photo: Reuters/Stringer

The Chinese courier sector delivered 365 million parcels in the first five days of the week-long Spring Festival holiday, up by 224% over the same period last year.

On the first two days of the holiday, which started on February 11, express delivery firms handled some 130 million parcels, up by 223% yearly, according to the State Post Bureau.

Following the recent resurgence of sporadic Covid-19 cases, the country has encouraged people to stay put over the holiday to minimize the risk of infections during the travel rush.

To make up for the loss of gatherings and parties, many chose to send gift parcels or make purchases online for their families and friends far away, pushing up logistics demand.

Consumption growth

Consumer spending during the Chinese Lunar New Year holiday surged noticeably, according to the latest statistics from the Ministry of Commerce (MoC).

The combined sales of retail and catering enterprises in China rose 28.7% year-on-year to 821 billion yuan (US$127.5 billion) during the Spring Festival golden week.

China’s online sales exceeded 122 billion yuan during the same period, with online catering sales surging 135% compared with the Spring Festival holiday last year as more Chinese ordered ready-to-eat meals through e-commerce or online food delivery platforms.

Sales of products related to Lunar New Year’s Eve dinners increased by 54.9% year-on-year during the holiday, said the MoC.

Industrial robot

China’s industrial robot production surged 19.1% year-on-year in 2020, according to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).

The growing output indicates the acceleration of the intelligent upgrading of the enterprises. Last year, the operating income of industrial robot manufacturing enterprises above the designated size registered a year-on-year increase of 6%.

The market of service robots performed well, with the operating income of relative enterprises above designated size reaching 10.31 billion yuan, up 31.3% year-on-year in 2020.

China strives to upgrade its labor-intensive manufacturing sector through technological innovation as it faces a shrinking working-age population and increasing labor costs. The country released a guideline in 2016 with a goal of tripling the annual production of industrial robots to 100,000 by 2020.

Box office

China’s box office revenue exceeded 10 billion yuan ($1.55 billion) as of 6pm on February 16, a figure surpassing half of the total earnings of 2020, showed data compiled by the China Movie Data Information Network.

Major contributors to the enormous haul include the local titles Detective Chinatown 3 and Hi, Mom. They were being screened during the weeklong Spring Festival holiday that started on February 11, according to the network.

Detective Chinatown 3 earned a whopping 3.2 billion yuan over its five-day screening since its debut on February 12. Hi, Mom, which premiered on the same day, has so far pocketed 2 billion yuan.

Theatres across China, except those deemed with a high risk of Covid-19 spread, were open during the holiday with heightened safety measures.

Company news

Chinese internet giant Baidu Inc delivered strong quarterly financial results on Thursday, reporting total revenue of 30.3 billion yuan in the three months ended December 30, 2020, up 5% year-on-year.

For the full year in 2020, Baidu reported total revenue of 107.1 billion yuan, basically flat from the previous year.

Robin Li, co-founder and CEO of Baidu, said the company’s focus on innovation through technology was paying off with Baidu Core non-marketing revenue growing 52% year-over-year in the fourth quarter.

The stories were compiled by Nadeem Xu and KoKo and first published at ATimesCN.com.

Xu Yuenai is a Beijing-based columnist specializing in international relations.