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Better pay sees migrant workers moving home to become food deliverymen

(People's Daily Online)    14:02, April 12, 2019

Su Junbo (Worker's Daily/Huang Yu)

“I would rather work in my hometown, as the money is almost the same and I get to spend time with my family,” said Zhang Yujie, a man who recently returned to his hometown in southwest China’s Yunnan Province, to become a food deliveryman, Worker’s Daily reported on April 11.

For over 10 years, 40-year-old Zhang had been a migrant worker in many of China's coastal cities, before he was drawn back to his hometown, where the rapid development of online catering platforms has attracted a number of migrant workers like Zhang to join local delivery teams.

Su Junbo, a delivery driver for Ele.me, one of China’s leading food delivery platforms, now earns around 7,000 yuan (about $1,042) a month. Before taking the job in Yunnan, Su was a welder in a factory and made up to 4,000 yuan a month.

He also worked in foreign countries including Thailand and Japan, noting that after working all over the world, he eventually decided to take a delivery job in his hometown so he could work and take care of his family.

Similar to Su, the growing food delivery business has also given Hong Tao a stable life in his hometown.

Hong, born in 1989, was previously living with his parents, wife, and child in a rented 50-square-meter room. Thanks to his hard work as a food delivery man, in 2017, Hong made a down payment on a 110-square-meter house, and by the end of last year, Hong and his family had moved into their new home in An’ning City, Yunnan.

During the recent Qingming Festival, Hong was incredibly busy. Each delivery earns him 4.5 yuan. As he handles more than 60 orders a day, he can make over 8,000 yuan per month.

Hong explains that the choice to move home and work has brought him a stable life.

There are over 10,000 food deliverymen who drive electric motorcycles on the roads of Yunnan, carrying take-out food for hundreds of thousands of people. With the fast development of food delivery in the province, more migrant workers are able to get a footing in the industry.

“New forms of economy like online catering are generating more jobs,” said an executive from the Kunming unit of Ele.me, disclosing that 85 percent of the food delivery drivers on Ele.me in Yunnan are local people, and 93 percent of these food delivery drivers think “being close to home” is the most attractive element of the job.

The new economy has brought more jobs to counties and villages, while the rapid growth in emerging industries provides people with a salary similar to what they could earn in a big city. For this reason, some blue-collar workers are now choosing to stay in their hometown, said Qian Yongsheng, a professor at the Kunming University of Science and Technology. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)

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