China's e-shopping faces choke point during Spring Festival

13:30, February 12, 2010      

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Several online retailers suspend delivery services ahead of the Spring Festival, which put Chinese e-shopping enthusiasts in a panic during the national holiday buying boom, the China Daily reported Friday.

Orders have increased by about 20 percent as the festival drew near, but "my store stopped sending goods to most regions in the country 10 days before Spring Festival," the newspaper quoted Ju Shi, a seller of ladies' garments on Taobao, China's largest online retail site, as saying.

New Year purchases on Taobao alone are expected to rise from 280 million yuan (41.06 million U.S. dollars) in 2009 to 1 billion yuan this year, but delivery remains a problem for the booming e-business, according to the newspaper.

"China's private express delivery companies lack a stable and sophisticated operating system," the newspaper quoted Cao Fei, an analyst at domestic research firm Analysys International as saying. "Delivery people come and go very frequently, especially when it comes to a big holiday."

Some individual sellers on Taobao have chosen to send goods via the State-owned EMS, which doesn't stop working during the holiday but charges nearly double compared with private express delivery companies.

S.F. Express, a big name in the delivery industry, said it would operate during the national holiday and will charge an additional 10 yuan per item. Another major player, Yuantong Express, said last month that it would be experimenting with nonstop operations this year, according to the newspaper.

Even though some delivery services will continue during the week-long holiday, some delays are to be expected, warned S.F. Express.

Source: Xinhua
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