Latest Posts


Monday, June 22, 2015

Chunghwa Post : Century-old postal service reinventing itself

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- "When I put on the green uniform, I can feel the trust that people have in me," said Du Wan-yi, a 63-year-old postman who works in New Taipei City. 

Having been delivering mail for the past 46 years, Du said he has seen a lot of changes in recent years: less appreciation for hand-written letters and more diversification of the services post offices provide.

But he said: "The care is still there."

Throughout his career, Du has been voluntarily visiting senior citizens who live alone. He's gotten to know them while delivering mail.

"But times have changed, and we have to change, too," said Du.

Indeed, Taiwan's 119-year-old postal service Chunghwa Post has undergone significant changes in recent years. From simply delivering mail when it was first founded in China in 1896, and to offering banking and insurance services starting in the 1930s, its services have now expanded to selling micro-insurance to blue-collar workers, offering free delivery of fruits for farmers, and much more.

And unlike postal services operating in the red in other countries, due to increased use of e-mail and a decline in traditional mail, Chunghwa Post has been making a profit in recent years.

Many of the changes were brought about by its chairman Philip Ong, who sees his background in foreign affairs as an advantage in pushing for new business models.

Ong, the Taiwan government's former representative to India, said his experience working in overseas cities such as New York and Geneva, has made him more open to new ideas and quicker to adapt to changes.

Change was needed in face of the biggest challenge facing the postal service — the dwindling mail business. The volume of mail the post office collects has decreased by 2-3 percent annually in recent years because more people have turned to email, messaging apps or free Internet calling services.

As a result, the overall mail business of Chunghwa Post has been sustaining an annual loss of NT$3 billion (US$97 million), which made manpower reallocation for the 9,000 postal workers and a redesign of postal routes necessary, Ong said.

Only the small parcel business is doing well due to the emergence of e-commerce, Ong said, adding that Chunghwa Post will allocate more resources to that section.

However, compared with other struggling postal services around the world, including the United States Postal Service (USPS), Chunghwa Post is "doing relatively OK," Ong said.

The USPS has been losing gigantic amounts of money despite cost-cutting efforts such as layoffs and closures of thousands of post offices. According to its financial statement, in the first quarter of 2015, the USPS recorded a net loss of nearly US$1.5 billion.

In the case of Chunghwa Post, it is making up for its core business being in the red by more aggressively investing overseas with its Postal Capital fund, which currently stands at some NT$6.4 trillion.

Through that strategy, the postal service was able to earn NT$12.1 billion in overall profit last year, which Ong said has allowed Chunghwa Post to continue providing its mailing service even though it's a money-losing business. 

Source :

No comments:

Post a Comment