The ambitous Chinese forwarder Anda Shun is tackling the slowdown in growth and mounting competition in the country by focusing on fast logistics for e-commerce and supply chain management
At a quarter to three, in the middle of the night, flight LH8414 touches down on the runway as scheduled. Just a few minutes later the MD-11F reaches its parking position, and the usual apron operations get underway at Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport. Next to Hong Kong, the airport in the metropolitan area of 20 million people is the largest airfreight hub in southern China. The electric motors powering the load system embedded in the base of the hold begin to hum as pallets and containers glide out of the belly of the aircraft.
It takes almost an hour to completely unload the freighter, freeing up space for the airfreight exports “Made in China” already neatly lined up on dollies.
One of the consignments due to be loaded is consolidated cargo from the international logistics service provider Anda Shun. It is filled with smartwatches and Android tablets that European customers have ordered online from a major Chinese shopping portal.
“I reckon that e-commerce already accounts for as much as five percent of our current airfreight volume,” says Gerry Yang, founder and CEO of Anda Shun. “And this figure is set to increase over the coming years.” Although around three-quarters of the e-commerce consignments Anda Shun deals with are slated for export, the company also imports goods ordered by Chinese consumers via overseas online portals. “It can be anything: fashion, exclusive cosmetics or even foods that cannot be purchased here. Exquisite Italian olive oil, for example,” says the company boss, whose headquarters are based in Shenzhen in the south of Guangdong province with its population of 104 million located almost a 90-minute drive away from Guangzhou.
Here in the Pearl River Delta is where Anda Shun has its roots and where it is particularly well represented. In addition to the metropolises of Shenzhen and Guangzhou, the airfreight hub Hong Kong also plays a major role for the company.
It has long since made a name for itself in the large hubs further north and most recently posted its fastest growth in Beijing; its activities in Shanghai are also increasing steadily. More than 20 Anda Shun branches reaching far into the country’s heartland now dispatch goods to the major gateways.
Founded ten years ago, the company now employs a staff of 500, most of whom work in mainland China, although the company also operates branches in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Australia. “When I founded Anda Shun, I could not have foreseen such dynamic growth,” admits Yang, whose entrepreneurial career took off after a rather inauspicious start. He had previously worked as an airfreight manager with AMS, a joint venture between Air China, Morrison Express and Sinotrans, where he acted as Regional General Manager and set up their South China stations Shenzhen and Guangzhou.
When the partners dissolved the joint venture, he and his colleagues suddenly found themselves out of a job. “We had spent ten years successfully working in the airfreight business and knew exactly how cargo worked in China,” Yang recalls. So he founded Anda Shun, took his colleagues along and began developing his own customer base.
“Anyone in China who wants to be actively involved in airfreight needs sound knowledge of the required processes,” he says. “It’s not a piece of cake. You have to learn an awful lot, build trust with all parties involved and obtain the necessary permits from the relevant authorities.”Nowadays, there are three types of customers who rely on Anda Shun’s know-how: around 40 percent of the company’s revenue comes from smaller and medium-sized forwarding agents based in China who frequently require international ocean and airfreight solutions but do not hold a “Class-A” license and lack the necessary certification from the Ministries of Commerce and Transport. Around 30 percent of the company’s business is generated through cooperations with overseas partners, with whom Anda Shun maintains links in some 200 countries around the world.
In general, these are foreign, medium-sized forwarders who do not have their own network in China.The remaining 30 percent are industrial customers, for example, manufacturers of consumer electronics, textiles, furniture or DIY goods.
As well as orders that require careful IT-based monitoring and flexible supply chain management, Anda Shun is keen to make the most of the opportunities offered by e-commerce to counter the effects of the slowdown in growth and mounting competition in China. Gerry Yang explains: “As far as B2C online platforms go, in addition to airfreight, we currently offer to-door deliveries for each consignment, right down to the size of every individual package.” If needs be, Anda Shun makes use of Lufthansa Cargo’s td.Flash, or in urgent cases their Courier.Solutions or Emergency.Solutions. “In Chinese, ‘Anda Shun’ means a ‘smooth and safe delivery’ – all of Lufthansa Cargo’s processes comply with that.”