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People's Daily Online>>China Society

Online retailer, offline counters

By Mao Pengfei (Xinhua)

12:18, December 04, 2011

BEIJING, Dec. 2 (Xinhua) -- Deliveryman Song Zhaogui arrives at University of International Business and Economy (UIBE) every morning, carrying an iron box of goods larger than two 30-inch luggage cases secured to the rear of his electric bicycle. Greeting customers, picking up goods and receiving money, this tanned man works like a professional sales assistant.

Song, 29, grew up in rural Yibin in southeast China's Sichuan Province. In 2000, he dropped out of high school and came to Beijing to make a living serving tables at restaurants, working at construction sites and doing other odd jobs.

He had no idea that China had 170 million online shoppers when he joined the delivery team of China's second biggest online retailer, Jingdong Mall, in April.

Keeping out of the sunshine, Song in a red uniform sets up his stall at the entrance to the passageway under the university's dormitory, and he sits on a blue plastic stool in front of the goods, next to the iron box serves as his counter.

While a young woman examines the laptop she ordered online, Song shows off the cash in his waist pack and a portable POS meant for customers who prefer to use credit card or debit card. "I have 98 orders this morning and only 12 were paid online."

"I don't feel safe paying online. Only paying with the goods in hand can set me at ease," the woman said. "That s why I shop on websites like Jingdong. If there is something wrong with this computer, I can talk with its people face-to-face to figure out a solution."

Jingdong has recruited more than 6,000 deliverymen like Song to run offline counters, and its army is still growing.

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