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Postal services extend reach into rural areas
update:April 18,2022
China's postal service sector has assisted parcel delivery in rural areas to extend the rural logistics network across the country and benefit local residents, an official from the State Post Bureau of China said on Friday.
All administrative villages in China now have access to postal services and every town has a post office. Postmen in rural areas not only sends letters, but also deliver parcels.
The cooperation between the postal service sector and parcel delivery services has been carried out in 31 provincial level regions, covering 230,000 administrative villages, about 48.5 percent of the administrative villages in China, said Ma Xulin, director of the bureau's general service department.
"China's rural villages are scattered across vast areas, with problems of few parcels and high logistics costs," Ma said, adding that these factors are challenges to steady services in rural areas.
The cooperation between postal services and parcel delivery services takes advantage of China's mature postal service network, reducing parcel delivery companies' costs and boosting the service's stability.
The next step is to increase the number of parcels delivered by postmen in rural areas. Measures include seeking government financial support, improving cooperation, enhancing service quality, optimizing the postal service network and adding more capacity and manpower in the system, he added.
China aims to promote rural logistics to benefit local residents and the potential market.
Last year, China's various logistics companies handled 108 billion parcels, with 37 billion of them sent from and delivered to rural areas.
The expansion of the network has boosted the movement of industrial goods from urban to rural areas and facilitated the transportation of agricultural produce from rural to urban areas, Ma Junsheng, director of the State Postal Bureau of China, said at a news conference in August.
The development has attracted attention from top authorities and has been written into the nation's 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25).
Since 2014, China has carried out a campaign to boost deliveries in rural areas. All county-level regions and 98 percent of towns now have access to express delivery services.
The efforts have mainly focused on the "last kilometer" from townships to villages.
Last year, the bureau launched a three-year campaign to expand the network to a deeper grassroots-level by sending parcels to villages.
The campaign quickly bore fruit. By the end of last year, more than 80 percent of administrative villages had access to parcel delivery services.
The bureau plans to extend the network to all administrative villages nationwide by the end of this year, according to its annual conference in January.
Ma Xulin said China has more than 2,000 natural villages in border areas without postal service. The country has about 3,000 villages in nine border provincial level regions — the provinces of Liaoning, Jilin, Heilongjiang, Yunnan and Gansu, as well as the Inner Mongolia, Guangxi Zhuang, Tibet and Xinjiang Uygur autonomous regions.
Postmen deliver mail to administrative villages and residents from natural villages in border areas have to pick up the letters themselves.
Most villages in border areas are scattered in a vast area with few residents, inconvenient transportation infrastructure and prone to natural disasters. The villages are usually far from local post offices with poor roads. These challenges have increased difficulties and costs of expanding the network to cover those areas, Ma added.
The bureau set a goal last year to ensure most residents in border villages have access to postal services by 2025.

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