Cross-border restrictions enforced due to the Covid-19 pandemic have led to a boost in Taobao purchases and deliveries, local courier company Aoyun International Limited (澳運國際) told Macau News Agency (MNA).
According to the company, over 50,000 packages purchased at the Chinese online shopping website owned by Alibaba are sent every day to Macau, with Aoyun delivering about 2,000 of them.
“Before Covid-19 many local residents would go to Zhuhai to pick-up Taobao packages but when they closed the borders they started using collection stores for this service,” Jack lam one of the company founders told MNA.
Founded in 2018 by Lam, Antonio Law and Alvin Fong, Aoyun became the only local partner of CAINIAO, the official parcel tracking platform of Alibaba Group.
Due to different customs regulations between Mainland China and the Macau SAR, Taobao package can only be sent to Zhuhai, which has prompted a rise in collection companies who set up warehouses in Zhuhai to where purchases by local consumers are sent and then forwarded through different kinds of informal customs.
According to Lam, this informal system means that local customs cannot fully supervise the logistics and Taobao can’t oversee the way delivered are made to local consumers by companies such as eBuy.
Aoyun only managed to complete procedures to become an official authorised partner of CAILIAO this month but deliveries have been flying since then.
The partnership allows for all purchases to be recorded and tracked through the Taobao App or the Aoyun App, which is under Alipay Mo.
“This way CAILIAO can supervise the products sent and make sure they are legal. For the last two years, we’ve worked with CAILIAO to make sure the products can be sent to Macau legally which is very difficult technically, but we have now started in May after testing the service for half a year,” Lam added.
Through the service, local buyers can select if they want their Taobao purchases to be sent to one of the company’s 50 pick-up stations in the city or delivered directly home for a higher fee.
Also, although the only other company that can also be selected directly in Taobao’s app for deliveries in Macau is SF Express, China’s second-largest courier company, Lam believes Aoyun’s has an advantage in faster delivery time and pick-up stores numbers.
Macau has not recorded any new Covid-19 cases for 36 consecutive days and border restrictions with Zhuhai have been slowly lifted.
Lam admits a return to normal border flows could lead to a fall in the volume of deliveries but with competition between courier companies increasing and pricing wars between them making costs for delivery services lower, the local businessman believes this year will be “very good for [e-purchase] consumers”.
“You can even see some banks giving subsidies to consumers to use Taobao collection services, maybe the volume of deliveries will decrease a bit but not that much for this year,” Lam added.
Still, human resources and the high costs of labour in the city remains a challenge for logistics companies, as it is for many other local companies, with Lam considering it one of Aoyun’s main difficulties.
“But the good news is that we will have more collaboration with Alibaba and Alipay and promotions with ICBC bank,” Lam added.