The front of Chen Xiaolei's supermarket in Zhifu village in Yushu, Changchun, Jilin province. (CHINA DAILY)
Since Chen Xiaolei added a parcel delivery business to her village supermarket in June 2021, the lives of the residents of Zhifu in Yushu, a county-level city in Changchun, Jilin province, have become more convenient.
The 25-year-old opened her 30-square-meter store in 2019, selling fruits and vegetables. Despite the lack of capital and limited scope for business, she continued to try out new ideas.
"At first, I could only make a monthly profit of 4,000 to 5,000 yuan ($576-720)," she said. "I paid a lot of attention to improving the quality and variety of the goods I sold, which attracted more customers."
As business improved, Chen expanded her store to 100 square meters in early 2021, turning it into a proper supermarket with lots of different items.
When she learned in June of that year that the Changchun China Post bureau was looking for partners to create parcel delivery stations in rural areas, Chen sensed a business opportunity.
"Until then, villagers had to deliver and pick up packages in Wukeshu township. It took them at least 30 minutes by bus to get there, and sometimes they weren't able to get their packages because they got there too late," she said.
"Rural delivery stations solved that problem by being closer and opening longer. I think that the convenience is welcomed by villagers."
Chen entered into an agreement with the Changchun bureau and set up a station in her supermarket.
"I was not sure whether I could make a profit, but I thought it would at least help attract more customers to my supermarket," she said. "In fact, I got much better results than I imagined."
Operating the same schedule as the supermarket, villagers can pick up packages from 9 am to 9 pm.
Chen was also careful to avoid mistaken pickups, which villagers appreciated.
"At first, we received around 300 packages and sent about 10 every day," she said.
"Now, those figures have increased to 700 and 30, respectively."
Those wishing to send village specialties to friends and relatives can arrange for an express service near their homes.
At the end of 2021, Chen expanded her supermarket to 400 square meters and took on an additional eight employees. By last year, she was making monthly profits of over 50,000 yuan.
The agreement with China Post brings with it a range of convenient services, such as enabling villagers to pay their water and electricity bills through a mobile app developed by China Post.
"These services are really convenient, especially for the elderly who are left behind," she said.
So far, 388 rural delivery stations have been set up in Yushu and 2,446 in Changchun city.
"In addition to deliveries, the stations allow people to pay water and electricity bills, provide information on employment and offer financial support for agriculture," said Liu Dongyang, director of the rural vitalization office at the Yushu bureau of China Post.
"The creation of the rural service system is helpful in promoting agricultural products and increasing the incomes of farmers."