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Growth during just the past four years has led China to surpass developed economies such as the United States and Japan and rank first globally in the number of express packages delivered last year, the State Post Bureau said on Tuesday.
The bureau, which operates China Post, the national postal service, said 40.06 billion express packages were delivered in 2017, 33 times the number in 2007. That equals an increase of 42 percent annually.
Ma Junsheng, head of the State Post Bureau, said the express delivery industry generated about 500 billion yuan ($79 billion) in revenue last year.
In rural areas alone, more than 10 billion packages were delivered in 2017, Ma said at a policy briefing hosted by the State Council Information Office.
The express delivery industry has created innovations in technology and green development, with about 100 smart sorting centers built across the country and 200,000 smart delivery boxes deployed, Ma said.
Express delivery is a vital part of modern logistics and contributes to the transformation of transportation and the consumer economy, Ma said.
Seven companies in the field have been listed on the Chinese stock market.
In 2017, China"s e-commerce transactions hit 7.18 trillion yuan, the Ministry of Commerce said last month.
Many of those transactions were completed using express delivery services.
But the industry still faces some problems.
For instance, it does not have a well-developed infrastructure, the potential remains that users" private information could be vulnerable and safety problems caused by the unregulated behavior of delivery workers on the road exist.
Zhang Jianhua, director of the department in charge of industry and commerce at the Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council, China"s Cabinet, said at the briefing that express delivery companies have been confronted with high costs when applying for licenses and parking vehicles.
The central government has attached great importance to the industry, which had been discussed at State Council executive meetings several times last year.
A new regulation overseeing the industry was approved in principle at a State Council executive meeting on Feb 7 presided over by Premier Li Keqiang.
Five years in the making, the regulation is expected to make the industry greener and safer.
Though details have not been released, the regulation makes clear arrangements to support infrastructure upgrades and land use and reduces logistics costs when packages are being loaded onto trucks, ships and aircraft, the State Post Bureau said.
The regulation is expected to promote healthy and sustainable development in the express delivery industry, Zhang said.
The State Council"s Legislative Affairs Office will keep a close eye on circumstances and problems arising in the industry and make timely adjustments to meet the demand of emerging industries and growth momentum, he said.
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