Postal codes in China could soon be a thing of the past.
The research arm of the State Post Bureau, China’s postal service regulator, plans to replace the country’s postal codes with unique “personal address IDs” in a bid to streamline mailing in the country’s growing e-commerce industry, according to an announcement Wednesday. This means every resident in China will have a unique code that serves as a personal geographical locator.
The project — a collaboration between the bureau and Peking University’s Time and Space Big Data Collaborative Innovation Center — will allow each resident to register for an individual postal ID using their government-issued identity card and proof of residence. However, it is unclear when the new system will replace the country’s current postal codes, which have been in use since 1980.
Chen Bo, deputy director of the innovation center, told Beijing Business Today that the new postal codes are intended to be short enough for people to remember them with ease. Chen also emphasized the geographical precision of the codes, which function by referring to points on a virtual grid that in turn identify real-world locations, according to Wednesday’s announcement.
Zhou Xiaoguang, a professor at Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, told domestic outlet Beijing Youth Daily that individuals will be able to use their government ID numbers to register for separate codes for different addresses. The codes will allow couriers to identify both the recipient and intended delivery address for any parcel.
“The new system will not only bring convenience to users, but also make personal addresses more easily recognized by machines,” Zhou said.
Experts involved in the project also believe that the new system will prove beneficial to the courier industry amid an ever-increasing number of deliveries, driven in large part by online shopping. Last year, domestic couriers handled over 50 billion parcels, according to the State Post Bureau.
Editor: Bibek Bhandari.
(Header image: Ingram/VCG)