I'm Coming

In 2018, Chen Yetao, a junior at Zhejiang Sci-Tech University, became a part-time campus delivery rider (also known as Xiyou warrior) on the mobile O2O service platform I’m Coming (Chinese: Anlaiye). Two months later, he became a “campus CEO,” leading a team of riders. A year later, Chen officially joined I’m Coming as a full-time campus entrepreneurship advisor, managing the business of two schools.


The inception of “Xiyou warrior” dates back to 2014. The name, which originated from university students, conveyed the founding team’s deep affection for the Chinese classic “Journey to the West.” Just as the book’s journey was grueling and full of challenges, so too was the process of running a startup.


At that time, O2O food delivery services were proliferating throughout China but the on-campus market remained untapped due to the insular governance of Chinese universities. By forging exclusive partnerships with universities, I’m Coming became the sole provider of food delivery services on campus and hired students as part-time riders. This is how the “Xiyou warrior” was born.


Chen recalled a severe snowfall in the winter of 2018, which put his leadership abilities to the test. Many students placed food orders online amid severe weather conditions, making it tough to hire and arrange the shifts of riders.


“Eventually, a few key team members were ready to come forward and confront the challenges with me. We braved the heavy snow, finished the deliveries, and overcame all the difficulties,” said Chen. During that period, his team delivered around 1,500 orders per day, establishing them as one of the best-performing teams in universities across the nation in 2018.


Before becoming a “Xiyou warrior,” Chen lived an uneventful life. He studied marketing and worked part-time at a milk tea shop and an insurance company off-campus, but these jobs didn’t teach him much. He felt uncertain about his future and didn’t have a clear career path. The part-time work of delivering food on campus gradually helped him overcome social phobia, get more involved in activities, and integrate into the I’m Coming campus community.


“This role supports my independence and my ability to solve issues. By communicating with customers and collaborating with the team, I took the first step in building interpersonal relationships,” said Chen.


“In addition to food delivery, we have other positions available, such as a “campus CEO.” Together, we can organize events, conduct market research, and promote our services. These experiences will set you apart after graduation.” Currently, I’m Coming has partnered with more than 160 universities across China to provide on-campus food ordering services. On average, each school has between 200 and 300 “Xiyou warriors.” The delivery fee for each order is RMB 1.5. If a part-time rider works for two hours daily, delivering 10 to 20 orders per hour, they can earn over RMB 1,000 per month.


Ma Jianqiang, a sophomore, joined “Xiyou warriors” to earn additional money. During busy lunch hours, he can make RMB 70-80 yuan from delivery fees within two hours. This opportunity has also enhanced his communication skills.


Ma, who is studying customized travel management and services, said, “I’ve become more sociable… During the deliveries, I often encounter unexpected situations such as running out of battery on my electric bike, flat tires, or sudden heavy rain. Nevertheless, such obstacles have improved my problem solving skills. You have to find solutions on your own because delivering on time is essential.”.


“I am optimistic that the experience will come in handy, regardless of the job I do in the future,” Ma said. During the winter and summer holidays, when there are fewer food outlets open at school, Ma has also delivered food off-campus for other platforms.


“The main difference is that businesses, customers, and the platform for ordering food on-campus are closely connected. If a problem occurs with a product outside the campus, the customer service might face difficulties in resolving it promptly. Nevertheless, if a student encounters meal issues while on-campus, the customer service immediately contacts them and finds a solution,” Ma said.  


According to I’m Coming partner and senior vice president An Chunyu (nickname: Tota King), there are currently around 500,000 daily active users on the platform. Around 100,000 students have signed up as “Xiyou warriors”, mainly recruited through university career centers. Every day, about 6,000 to 8,000 riders provide delivery services on campus, and the platform pays tens of millions of yuan in delivery fees to students annually.


Unlike off-campus work, “campus CEOs,” “Xiyou warriors” and “land gods” (students who run dormitory shops, selling I’m Coming’s procured products) form a self-organizing campus community. They use collective intelligence to achieve goals such as improving delivery and marketing efficiency.


“Our goal is to create a comprehensive digital service platform that supports the development, success and progression of students in universities. In the next phase, we will introduce new services, collaborate with various high-quality partners and expand beyond part-time courses, accommodation rentals and driving courses,” An said.


“We’ll add vocational training modules, hold professional competitions and provide more benefits for students, administrators, major brands and industry participants to build strong connections between universities and society.”


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