After two years of fierce pricing competition, China's eCommerce express delivery industry has reached an inflection point. With the government's regulation aiming to protect low-income delivery workers' benefits, express delivery companies raise the delivery fee per parcel together and increase the payout to the delivery workers. Though the 0.1 RMB per parcel pay raise is small, it marks the potential series of pay raise in the future, since the government aims to improve delivery workers' total compensation gradually. In this new regulatory environment, express companies have to raise prices to cover the higher labor cost, thus putting an end to the industry's two-year pricing war.
Besides the easing of pricing pressure, the express industry is also consolidating. J&T Express, an emerging player in China's express delivery industry, will buy Best Express, a much smaller player. Many smaller express delivery companies, like Best Express, are under Alibaba's Cainiao Logistics network. They are financially backed by Alibaba through loss-making, as Alibaba wants to have better control over delivery companies within its eCommerce ecosystem. J&T Express is viewed as a partner within PDD's ecosystem, thus not accepted on Alibaba's eCommerce platforms and unlikely to take over Alibaba-backed Best Express. However, with the anti-trust regulation movement within China's Internet, unbundling the logistic fulfillment services is likely. Alibaba is now willing to let go of the loss-making minor delivery companies. The industry is expected to see further consolidation, and the competitive environment is likely to get better. The eCommerce express delivery industry has reached an inflection point of competition and is likely to see profitability improve in the next few years gradually.
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