ZHENGZHOU, June 25 (Xinhua) -- Too busy to spare your time for the small and trivial things that often consume your lives? Concierge companies based in major Chinese cities offer a solution.
From walking the dog to grocery shopping, from scheduling hospital appointments to delivering papers, from making reservations at restaurants to babysitting, savvy business owners eye a wide range of services for busy urban dwellers.
Errand runners, mostly part-time, are now in big demand in major cities.
With nothing more than a cellphone and reliable transport to ensure timely delivery, 47-year-old Xu Xiaoli begins her part-time errand running business after she dropped her daughter at school in Zhengzhou, capital of central China's Henan Province.
An order popped up on Xu's phone soon after she started an app enabling busy people in the city to pay errand runners like Xu to do them a favor.
Xu says the job can bring her a monthly income of at least 4,000 yuan (about 581 U.S. dollars). "It is a business you can get into with a schedule that's flexible, so I can also take care of my daughter."
In 2018, the number of instant delivery services users in China reached 358 million, according to a report released by iiMedia.
The number is expected to reach 400 million by the end of 2019, the report said.
"In today's fast-paced world, more people begin to realize that time is expensive and the diversified and personalized instant delivery services make it more convenient and cheaper for people to 'pay to save time,'" said Qiao Songtao, founder of UUpt, an errand running company headquartered in Zhengzhou, with over 1.6 million registered errand runners around the country.
"Seventy percent of errand runners have high school or junior college education or less, so the booming industry creates more job opportunities, regardless of gender or degree," Qiao said.
Smart phones and mobile applications make instant delivery services possible, said Wang Sixin, a professor with the Communication University of China.
The emergence of new business models has played a unique role in boosting employment in cities, Wang said.
In 2018, a union platform was founded among the country's competitive delivery services players such as Meituan, UUpt and FlashEx, aiming to enhance delivery efficiency based on shared resources.
Statistics show that registered delivery persons on the platform have surpassed 5 million and their average daily earning has reached 200 yuan.
"The job is both lucrative and rewarding," Xu said. "I have been working hard and life is getting better. It is all worth it."