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Short video platforms change lives of young people in rural areas

(Xinhua)    13:29, May 09, 2020

CHANGSHA, May 9 (Xinhua) -- If you type "Zhangjiajie" in the search bar of Kuaishou, a popular short video sharing platform, you will find Zhou Tiansong, who has 2.45 million followers.

"Short videos have changed my life. As more people get to know the beauty of my hometown, our life is getting better and better," said Zhou, a 28-year-old who grew up in Zhangjiajie, a city known for its scenic mountains in central China's Hunan Province.

In early 2017, Zhou, a tour guide at the time, took a series of videos of the snow when taking some visitors to Tianzi Mountain, where the movie "Avatar" was filmed. He then set up a Kuaishou account and posted the videos.

"The videos became a hit, with hundreds of thousands of views and people sending messages saying that they would visit Zhangjiajie," he said, adding that he did not expect that the scenery he had seen since his childhood could be so popular.

He then decided to shoot more videos to show the scenery in his hometown. The clear springs in the mountains, the cloud-shrouded peaks, the extreme sports on the cliffs and the farmers carrying poles have all been captured by his camera.

Everything on Zhou's account was filmed and edited by himself. In order to capture scenes such as the sunrise and sunset, he would stay in the mountains for a whole day. He also studies popular videos to sharpen his shooting skills. Under his guidance, many tour guides in Zhangjiajie have become online sensations with hundreds of thousands of fans.

"A lot of people come to me for advice and ask me how to make videos, and I teach them everything I've learned over the years," Zhou said, adding that the short video platform has given young people in rural areas like him unprecedented opportunities to start their own businesses, and with his own living standard improved, he now has the ability to help others.

Shang Yukang, 24, from a remote village of Longnan city, northwestern China's Gansu Province, put thousands of chickens he raised in the shape of the number 70 on the eve of the National Day in 2019 when the People's Republic of China marked its 70th founding anniversary. The video has been viewed 22.8 million times.

"If there were no short videos, my chicken-raising business might have already failed," Shang said, adding that through the short video platform, he had attracted 460,000 fans.

In 2016, inspired by an agricultural program, Shang returned home to raise chickens. However, his family was unable to support him. "The initial investment was relatively high, but the income was not guaranteed," he said. Even so, he made up his mind to give it a try and bought 500 chickens.

One day, while feeding, Shang noticed that the chickens would gather according to the location of the trough. He then arranged the feed into a heart shape and recorded the process on his phone. What Shang did not expect was that the video brought him his first online income -- a netizen who ran an agritainment business paid 1,800 yuan (about 254 U.S. dollars) for 30 chickens.

Shang began to make more videos on raising chickens and even bought a drone. Amid the COVID-19 epidemic, he made an image of a doctor wearing a mask with the chickens to pay tribute to medical staff.

Shang expanded his chicken-raising business after receiving a poverty alleviation loan in 2018. He also set up a chicken breeding cooperative with the help of the local government.

The cooperative distributed chicks to local households living under the poverty line. Shang helps sell the chickens to help lift the farmers out of poverty.

"Now everyone has seen the harvests and more people have expressed the willingness to start their own businesses. I want to attract more poor households to join me, raise chickens and get out of poverty," said Shang. "I will continue to make short videos and post more interesting, innovative and valuable content."

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: He Zhuoyan, Bianji)

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