An increasing number of young people with higher education backgrounds are joining the large group of meal delivery staff in major Chinese cities like Shanghai.
Over 20 percent of people delivering food for Shanghai's key meal takeout firm Ele.me have achieved bachelor's degrees or higher diploma.
Most of the employees, at an average age of 31, are attracted by the free working time and relatively high salary compared with other labor-intensive jobs, said Lin Min, an official at Alibaba Local Life, which owns Ele.me.
Over 200,000 meal delivery staffers are registered in the online food delivery platform in Shanghai. Some 80 percent of them were born in rural regions, Lin told a forum for employees of the new economy and social organizations in Putuo District.
About 40 percent of delivery staff said they wanted additional education opportunities, and more than half of them had a freelance job or plan to start their own businesses, Lin said.
The company has developed an artificial intelligence system to improve the efficiency of the delivery workers and meet their leisure demands, she added.
The public forum was organized for employees, freelancers, and members of the new economy and social organizations, known as China's "new social class."
The new social class, which mainly appeared after the nation's reform and opening up, have contributed a lot to the development of the country. China has some 150 million members of this new class, accounting for 11.5 percent of the nation's total population.
The forum aimed to create a communication platform for the young professionals of new business sectors, especially the booming online new economy amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the district government.
Four forum platforms will be organized for private and startup companies from Shanghai's 16 districts to share opinions and discuss hot topics.
"As the cradle of China's national industries, Putuo has become a popular site for the private sector," said Lu Liqing, vice organization department director of Putuo.
A number of famous private brands such as Fosun, Yuexing and Ossen have been developed in Putuo, Lu said. Senior officials from Fosun and Ele.me were among the first speakers at the forum on Thursday.