Internet helps farmers in China's remote northwest prosper

11:18, December 28, 2010      

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About 40 percent of Feng Zixue's dried licorice root, used in Chinese traditional medicine, is sold online across the country from his hometown, a remote village in northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region.

Feng, a farmer turned entrepreneur of Honghai Village in Ningxia, sells 600 metric tons of licorice annually.

Feng's profits last year exceeded one million yuan (149,254 U.S. dollars), he said in an interview with Xinhua.

"Things would not be going so well without the Internet," Feng said.

Since 2007, thanks to the Ningxia local government's efforts, information centers with Internet have been set up in 2,362 villages in the autonomous region.

The Ningxia campaign is part of a national one to improve access to the Internet in rural areas.

Statistics from the First Informatization and Modern Agriculture Exposition, co-sponsored by the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) on Nov. 20 to 22, showed that 99 percent of towns in China are connected to the Internet.

After Feng's village was connected to the Internet, Feng marketed his products on "alibaba.com" at the beginning of 2008, and then found his first online business partner -- a traditional Chinese medicine company in south China's Guangdong Province.

Feng has since set up a shop in Guangdong and his licorice is sold as far away as Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Another farmer Tian Yanping of Longquan Village, located about an hour by car from Feng's home, has also made a small fortune from selling goods over the Internet

Tian, a 41-year-old farmer, organized others in his village to work as a group and sell their vegetables and fruit online. Tian then split the profits among them.

Tian also directed the group to plant vegetables and fruit according to online market demand.

With the help of the Internet, agricultural products in this remote village in northwest China could be obtained by consumers across the country.

Tian's annual income now is about 50,000 yuan. Tian's fellow villager Feng Zhongfu's annual net income has increased to over 60,000 yuan due to the online business, six times that of his income before the group started selling over the Internet.

Tian, who has his own computer and is connected to the Internet, hopes one day that every villager will own a computer and have Internet access.

"Internet helps people see further and learn more," Tian said.

Source:Xinhua
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