HK$170m plan from Japan to bring city's online shopping home
Japanese courier Ta-Q-Bin is investing HK$170 million on a service in Hong Kong targeting home delivery for online shoppers.
It is the start of an aggressive expansion campaign into southern China by its parent company Yamato Holdings.
It plans to launch a service in Shenzhen next year, followed by Guangzhou in 2013 and Zhuhai and Zhongshan in 2014.
In a bid to fend off cutthroat competition from the numerous local couriers in Hong Kong, Ta-Q-Bin will concentrate on door-to-door deliveries of perishable products such as fresh fruit, ice-cream, and deliveries of high-end ingredients for fine-dining restaurants
Its drivers will also collect payments for vendors of up to HK$10,000 per shipment and will operate from 8am-10pm 365 days of the year.
Ta-Q-Bin has a logo featuring a black cat carrying a kitten in its mouth to underline how it aims to carry precious cargo with care. It has grown into a household name in Japan since being launched in 1976.
In 2001, Yamato introduced the service to Taiwan and opened its first mainland office in Shanghai last October.
'In Japan, you could say that Ta-Q-Bin induced the boom in online shopping,' said Junta Maejima, managing director of Yamato Transport (HK).
Yamato handled 1.26 billion domestic express parcels in Japan last year, of which 11 per cent was related to online shopping.
'Online shopping parcels are also expected to account for a major proportion of sales in Hong Kong and the mainland,' Maejima said.
The company is hoping to team up with online names such as Taobao, the most popular shopping portal on the mainland, which currently works with state-owned Worldwide Express Mail Service and Shenzhen-based SF Express (Group) to deliver products to individual customers on the mainland and in Hong Kong.
Maejima said volumes in Hong Kong were expected to be modest at first, with 600 and 3,100 shipments expected in 2011 and 2012 respectively.
He estimated the volume would gather pace from the third year, when the company hopes to break even, and increase to 11,600 parcels a year by 2015.
The company will set up seven delivery centres -in Kwai Chung, Kowloon Bay, Tsim Sha Tsui, Quarry Bay, Mong Kok, Central and Tai Po. The number of centres will gradually be increased to 16 by 2015 and 26 by 2020.
The number of courier staff is expected to increase from 70 by the end of this year to 400 by 2015 and 700 by 2020.
A hundred Circle K stores will also serve as delivery and pick-up points.