Hive Box, which was launched in 2015, operates a network of locker stations in residential compounds around China. Its mission is to solve the challenges of the last 100 metres of express delivery. The lockers give deliverypeople a place to drop off packages in cases when the recipients aren’t at home.

Hive Box has clashed with consumers as it tried to find ways of boosting revenues beyond advertising fees. It charges small fees of the delivery firms and launched membership plans for its people who want to rent the lockers over longer periods. But it stirred up widespread opposition to charges for packages stored for more than 12 hours without collection. Residents in many communities refused to pay up and consumer advocates has also argued that acceptance of deliveries requires recipient consent.

Contactless distribution services emerged as preferred choices during the early months of the pandemic and Hive Box benefited as the largest company in the sector. But costs still outweigh revenue generation.

Hive Box is based in Shenzhen and backed by logistics giant SF Express. Other investors including Sequoia China and Redview Capital have contributed to financings of $1.1 billion.

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