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Postal and Courier Service in China

Generally, postal service can be divided into two kinds: international postal service and domestic postal service. As the rapid development of e-commerce, more and more people purchase things online from domestic or foreign country. Thus, there are more and more competent express companies in China.

International Postal Service

For international postal service, famous international express companies, like UPS, DHL, TNT and FedEx all have companies in China. Foreign travelers may be very familiar to these express companies. However, those international express companies can only be found in big cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Xian, Hangzhou, Suzhou, Shenzhen,etc. If you are going to mail the parcel from small cities or remote areas, then we are going to introduce you Express Mail Service (EMS) – an express service provided by China Post (the official post service in China), and it’s under the management of Universal Postal Union (UPU). The business area of EMS covers almost every part of China, and you can find EMS as long as there are post offices.

The international service of EMS can post urgent letters, documentation, financial instruments, commodities, samples and other goods for its customers. At the same time, EMS provides online real-time tracking service. Its service covers China, Hong Kong, Australia, Japan, South Korea, US, UK, Span, France and Singapore. Over 300 millions delivery points make it easier for customer to post the parcel. Delivery confirmation time for Southeast Asia areas will be 3 days, Australia is 4 days and European and America countries are5 days. EMS is cheaper than other international express companies, and one of the biggest advantages of EMS is that if your parcel is held by the foreign Customs, it will send the parcel back to China without extra fees, while other international expresses will charge quite a lot of money.


China Post has also promoted an economic post service for small parcels – EAU, which can reach US, UK and Australia. The general post time for EAU is from 7days to 10 days, it’s slower and cheaper than EMS, and the delivery time is not guaranteed by the company.

Domestic Postal Service

For domestic postal service, there are many express companies to choose in China. Besides the EMS mentioned above, domestic companies like S.F Express (Shunfeng Express), STO Express (Shentong Express), YT Express (Yuantong Express), ZTO Express (Zhongtong Express), etc. are also very popular. Each express company has its unique advantage and customer can choose according to the different situation.

Guangzhou Customer Reports has done a research on the delivery time and price of popular express companies in seven districts, and the results show:

Among the domestic express companies, S.F Express and EMS are the fastest ones, with an average delivery time of 1.786 days; while STO Express is the slowest one with an average delivery time of 4.457 days; YT Express and ZTO Express are 2.5 days and 2.786 days. As for the price, S.F Express tops all other companies with an average price of ¥35, while EMS is ¥21. STO Express, YT Express and ZTO Express have similar prices, about ¥15.

If the parcel is in urgent, then S.F. Express is the best choice, though the results shows EMS is fast as S.F Express. However, according to the author’s experience, S.F. Express is always the fastest one among others.

If the parcel needs to be mailed to the remote areas, then EMS is the best one you can get. EMS can reach any place where has a post office. So basically, you can send the parcel to every place in China with EMS, and this is dominant advantage over other express companies.

If you are not in hurry and the destination is not very remote, then, STO Express, YT Express and ZTO Express are good choice for the cheap prices.


Service numbers of the major express companies are listed below:

UPS 4008-208-388
FedEx 4008-861-888
DHL 4008-108-000
TNT 4008-209-868
EMS 11185
S.F. Express 4008-111-111
STO Express 4008-895-543
YT Express 021-69777888
ZTO Express 021-39777777

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