TMTpost Photo Gallery aims to record interesting individuals that are shining in their own respective fields: entrepreneurs that have just found their spot in the startup scene; star investors that walk through different conferences; programmers who spend hours of time writing codes in front of the computer screen; Internet operators who devoted much of their time to work; geeks who bury themselves in developing cutting-edgetechnologies and even delivery guys who go around the city under the glowing sun. All these people’ lives are deeply influenced by the Internet, and their fractured moments of life are worth capturing.
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On November 9th 2016, 9 am, at Beijing Jiulongshan, takeout delivery guys from different takeout platforms gathered on the street, waiting for order request from their phones. Another day of work was about to start.
Zhao Liyong, who’s 34 years old, quitted his job as a driver and followed his friends to Beijing from Yuncheng, Shanxi province, and started to work as a takeout delivery guy. At 10 am in the morning, he arrived Jiulongshan street on time and waited for the system to automatically distribute orders. “This business area is ours. There are lots of restaurants here, and they are closer to get to. More than 200 delivery guys are around here,” Zhao Liyong said.
Around 11 am, Zhao Liyong got his first takeout order request. Every takeout order request has a half-an-hour limit. Zhao fears that it would cost him too much time getting the food from the restaurants, so he has to set a really tightly-scheduled plan for the delivery route so as to get more orders during the peak hours. During 11 am to 2 pm and 5 pm to 7 pm are the peak hours.
When waiting at a noodle place for the pickup, Zhao Liyong was discussing about how much time different food would take with his colleagues. “I am quite new to this business, so I usually follow the GPS otherwise I can’t find the right place.” Since the food pickup time took up too much time and the system was already telling him that he’s near the limited time, he decided to finish other takeout orders first. “My colleagues that have been doing this work for a long time can finish over 30 orders per day, while I can only finish less than 30,” Zhao said.
After getting the food, Zhao rushed to an office tower near Dajiaoting. The client didn’t write a clear address and Zhao had to look up the client’s phone number to reach him. Then he waited for the client to come pick up the food. This day marked the full month of his career life as a delivery guy. He has got 15 good remarks, but also gets complaints from clients about taking too long to get the food.
After the peak hours at 2 pm, a deliver who just had some lunch was somehow napping while holding his smartphone. The regular working time for the delivery guys is from 9 am to 10 pm, while the night shift could last until 3 am.
Xiao Tian pulled off his e-bike by a charging pile on Jiulongshan street to power up his bike after the peak hours. He rides more than 100 kilometers everyday and uses up at least two e-bike batteries. The charge pile owner charges him ￥150 every month. “I bought this second-hand bike myself, cost me around ￥2000. Bike from the platform are all new and cost over ￥3000. If we lose it we also lost the money. Do the math,” Xiao Tian said, who just lost an e-bike last month.
Mr. Cao was waiting for order requests on the street. This day Beijing’s outdoor temperature slumped to 1°C, which means there would be more people who’re not willing to leave their house, and would mean more orders for each delivery staff. “Experienced delivery staff can finish over 1000 orders per month, earning over ￥10,000. Compared with that others usually earn ￥6000.”
At 6 pm, the sky was turning dark. Part-time delivery staff Xiao Feng works from 8 am to 5 pm at a restaurant and comes out work as delivery guy after work. The restaurant gives Xiao Feng four days off every month, during which he works full-time as a delivery guy. He has been in Beijing for three years, originally from Lanzhou. “Beijing is an expensive city to live in, I have to earn more,” he said. Every month he can earn over ￥1000 from the part-time job. The platform rewards him ￥12 if he could achieve an average of 15 orders everyday.
Midnight. Chen Xue finished up his last order today. “I was a deputy-level staff in a state department. I came to Beijing for my girlfriend. I have been delivering takeouts for four months,” Chen Xue can complete takeout orders at least 20 and up to 40 everyday. He has been awarded the title of Black Gold Knight and get an extra 50 cents for each order. If he could maintain this workload, then he would become Diamond Knight next month, with the extra bonus upgrading to 80 cents. “My girlfriend is having an exam here. I want to make more money while waiting for her. Once she wants to leave Beijing I will just go with her,” Chen said.
After midnight, you can still see delivery guys on the streets of Shuangjing. According to statistics, by July 2016, Baidu Takeout has over 40,000 delivery guys, while Meituan has 60,000, and Eleme has over one million(part-time delivery guys included). The takeout sector of the catering industry in China had reached ￥230 billion in 2015, accounting for 7.4% of the whole catering consumption.
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[The article is published and edited with authorization from the author @Zhu Lingyu, please note source and hyperlink when reproduce.]
Translated by Garrett Lee (Senior Translator at PAGE TO PAGE), working for TMTpost.