BEIJING • There are around 1.2 million couriers in China, according to one survey which covered 40,000 of them.
Nearly one-quarter of them work more than 12 hours a day, seven days a week, according to the survey conducted by Beijing Jiaotong University and Alibaba's research and logistics arms.
A majority of them work more than eight hours a day, every day of the week.
Most couriers make about US$300 (S$425) to US$600 a month, according to the Jiaotong study - an amount roughly equal to the wages of China's migrant factory workers.
They can deliver up to 150 packages on a weekday, sometimes helped by making mass deliveries to office buildings, drivers said.
Couriers generally make about 15 US cents per package delivered, according to drivers and reports in the state news media, though they can make more by picking up outgoing packages from customers or through other tasks.
About 40 per cent of couriers quit within a year, according to the Jiaotong study.