With the Chinese Spring Festival holiday approaching, people throughout China prepare to celebrate the New Year festival with family and friends. For some families, the week-long holiday is the only time during the year when they can all be together, as those who left rural areas to work in the cities travel home to reunite with children, spouses, loved ones and friends, and others travel from the countryside to the cities or distant towns where their loved ones work.
In recent years this period has seen what’s been estimated to be the largest human migration on the planet. In 2016, for example, an estimated 3 billion individual trips took place during Spring Festival week, with trains, planes, highways and roads jammed to capacity on many days.
With this much movement across the country, travel becomes challenging. Government offices and most businesses shut down as people enjoy their time off.
Most e-commerce companies also shut down, or they abandon normal delivery commitments and tack on extra fees. JD.com, however, decided years ago to continue supporting its customers during the holiday, delivering to families enjoying the festivities together without the delays or added fees. Consumers can get standard same- and next-day delivery, a level of service that other companies can’t match even during slow periods, much less during the biggest holiday of the year. This allows people to bring gifts to their families or even to have packages shipped directly to them throughout the holiday.
JD.com can do this because it operates its own warehouses, delivery vehicles and end-to-end logistics systems, and because its delivery team is staffed by its own employees.
Since most delivery staff also have families, and many are far removed from one another throughout much of the year, JD took steps several years ago to help ease the burden for those who work during the holiday to make the lives of our customers better. For example, CEO Richard Liu announced a policy in 2014 to give employees who live apart from their children a special cash payment of RMB 3,000 if they have a child, and an additional RMB 3,000 if they have more than one so that the children can travel to visit their parents during Spring Festival holiday. There are also provisions to claim a higher amount if expenses exceed that. The program was extended to childless employees so that they can get an extra stipend for their hard work during the holiday since many of them have to spend it apart from their loved ones as well.
Since the program launched in 2014, JD has spent around RMB 200 million to help over 20,000 JD employees enjoy time with their families during the holidays.
“I miss my family so much and I was disappointed when I didn’t think I would see them on Chinese New Year’s Eve,” said Yan Yong, a deliveryman at JD’s Temple of Heaven station in Beijing. “But then I learned about the company’s program to help my children come join me in Beijing and felt much happier. I got to see them and my customers will still get their packages on time!”
While the expense to the company is not insignificant, JD.com thinks it’s money well spent if its employees can enjoy at least some time with their families and its customers can continue to rely on the company for all their online shopping needs — even when most other businesses are closed.