Nov 24, 2020|

JD Courier Honored as National Model Worker


by Kelly Dawson

Among a group of model workers awarded across China by the Chinese government in this year’s National Model Workers and Advanced Workers awards announced on Nov. 24th is a humble courier from Chifeng, Inner Mongolia named Song Xuewen. Since joining JD in 2011, he has covered 320,000 kilometers and delivered 300,000 packages—with zero errors, zero complaints, and zero safety incidents.

Today, Song, aged 38, heads one of 21 delivery stations in Beijing’s Zhongguancun neighborhood, managing 17 couriers who just like him, are a part of China’s courier work force of more than 4 million workers, who all together now handle an annual parcel volume of 74 billion across China.

Today, Song, aged 38, heads one of 21 delivery stations in Beijing’s Zhongguancun neighborhood

Song is soft-spoken but decisive. Each morning he assesses the massive haul of packages that will be delivered across Zhongguancun, first piling the goods according to size, largest at the bottom and smallest at the top—but what looks like a straightforward process is anything but simple. As “Beijing’s Silicon Valley”, Zhongguancun is home to about 20,000 companies. Song knows each and every company in his area—their location, what time their offices close, their package delivery preferences and most frequent purchases, and even the names of some employees.

It is precisely this meticulous attention to detail that has netted Song multiple awards over the years: In 2017, he won the National May Day Medal awarded by the National Union, , and in 2018, he won third place in a national competition for “most beautiful courier”, an award for beauty in character and diligence.

“The most important thing in this role is to be attentive,” Song said in an interview at JD’s headquarters in Beijing. “You have to pay attention to customers, and observe your fellow couriers to see what they do well, and learn the correct process.”

On any given day, JD couriers might encounter a range of challenges that go far beyond the normal work scope one might expect from a courier, he said. As JD couriers are assigned to work in one designated area, they often form bonds with their regular customers. In the past year alone, JD couriers have unexpectedly helped put out a fire, assisted an elderly customer in ordering ingredients and then making moon cakes, and more. It’s common for JD couriers to assist elderly or handicapped people with various tasks, Song said.

“I think that among couriers, JD couriers have a higher responsibility,” he said. “Being a courier is not always simple. Our work plays a role in society. As a part of society, we all have a natural responsibility, but as a courier, there’s an additional layer of responsibility we feel.”

Indeed, the role of couriers during the pandemic earlier this year has been well recognized, hailed as a “lifeline” during a time when most of China’s population remained indoors. China’s couriers were also recognized last year, when Song himself was invited to participate in the National Day parade.

“It was very exciting and a big honor,” Song said of the parade. “Maybe sometimes we think of the job of being a courier as mundane or easy work, to transport packages daily. So to be recognized by society and our country, it felt like our hard work had paid off. Additionally, to be able to represent couriers in the National Day parade and receive this honor, I think it was a recognition that our role in society and the services we provide are significant.”