SHANGHAI, Jan 8 (Reuters) - China's express delivery firms dispatched about 40 billion parcels last year, up 28 percent compared to the previous year, Xinhua news agency said on Monday, citing the postal regulator.
The State Post Bureau said total business was expected to have reached 976 billion yuan ($150.21 billion) over the year, 32 percent higher than 2016.
It said infrastructure had also been improved, with 1,000 storage and delivery centres built, some using new technology such as unmanned warehouses, drones and driverless vehicles.
China's postal and courier services have been under increasing pressure as consumers turn to online shopping via platforms such as Alibaba and JD.com.
The surge in deliveries has raised concerns about pollution. The 20 billion orders made to courier firms in 2015 were estimated to have required 8.27 billion plastic bags, 9.92 billion packing boxes and enough sticky tape to go around the globe more than 400 times.
During an annual online discount sales event last November, postal and courier businesses had to deal with 331 million packages, creating an estimated 160,000 tonnes of packaging waste.
$1 = 6.4977 yuan Reporting by David Stanway; Editing by Edmund Blair