CHENGDU: Qiu Youhazi shuttles through concrete jungles on his electric bicycles and climbs up and down in urban buildings from 7:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day to deliver meals. The 28-year-old does not think his job is tiring as he has been running in the mountains since childhood.
Born and raised in a remote village in Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture, southwest China’s Sichuan Province, Qiu is a food courier in the provincial capital of Chengdu, some 11 hours’ drive from his village.
The name Youhazi, meaning “a man bringing the hope of making fortune” in Yi ethnic language, was given by his parents, who expected their son to shake off poverty that has been lingering for generations.
Liangshan, home to 178,000 impoverished people, is one of the poorest regions in China. The last seven counties that remain on the list of Sichuan’s poor county regions are all located in the prefecture. China aims to eradicate absolute poverty this year. By the end of last year, there were still over 5.5 million people living under the poverty line across the country.
When the meager farm yield out of the barren lands can hardly support local households, young generations go out to work at an early age, including Qiu.
Two years ago, Qiu’s wife gave birth to twins, while the eldest son was still a toddler. As the breadwinner of the family, the young father, who used to earn 4,000 yuan (564 U.S. dollars) a month at an electronics plant in Chongqing Municipality, quit his job and decided to deliver online meal orders last October.
“I heard delivering food could almost double my income at the time,” he said.
Figures show online food delivery transactions exceeded 720 billion yuan in the country in 2019. Explosive growth is further expected this year, as the novel coronavirus epidemic has forced a large number of people to order online, waiting for their meals to be delivered to their doorstep. Analysts estimate that there are now more than 7 million food couriers across the country.
On his first day of work, Qiu followed experienced riders, delivering 29 orders — a fairly good performance.
Working day and night, the green hand earned more than 8,000 yuan in the first month and 13,000 yuan in the following month, ranking first among the delivery team.