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China’s rural e-commerce helps farmers prosper

(People's Daily Online)    10:44, June 03, 2020

China’s e-commerce has developed rapidly in rural areas, helping farmers increase their income and change the consumption habits of rural residents.

Tian Yumiao, a tea plantation staff, presents the scenery of tea gardens via live stream in Hefeng County, central China's Hubei Province, April 8, 2020. Local tea producers collaborate with e-commerce platform to boost tea sales in Hefeng. (Photo by Yang Shunpi/Xinhua)

According to statistics from the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM), the population of rural netizens in the country has exceeded 250 million so far, with over 13 million rural e-commerce shops.

The MOFCOM and other departments have established comprehensive demonstrations for introducing e-commerce into rural areas for six consecutive years since 2014, Vice Minister of Commerce Wang Bingnan said recently.

“E-commerce is found across 832 state-level poor counties across the country, vigorously promoting the development of rural e-commerce,” Wang said, adding that China’s rural e-commerce shows robust growth and prominent progress.

The total online retail sales of agricultural products reached 397.5 billion yuan (about 55.9 billion U.S. dollars) in 2019, a year-on-year increase of 27 percent, increasing more than three million poor farmers’ income, according to the ministry.

E-commerce has become a poverty alleviation tool to promote sales of agricultural products in poor areas, helping to increase the wealth of people living in poverty.

“I recommend the fresh sweet potato juice to you. It is a green and healthy specialty in our county,” said Wang Zhuozhen, general manager of Hongzhuo Agricultural Technology Co., Ltd. in Baixiang county in north China’s Hebei province, in a recent live streaming session.

Wang made about 300 sales of sweet potato juice in half an hour during the live stream show. By selling sweet potato products across the country via live streaming, she was not only able to expand sales channels, but also help increase income.

Another town serving as an example of the province’s IT-based poverty alleviation is Liugaizi town in Linqing, Liaocheng, east China’s Shandong province. By cooperating with an internet company, the town has established an e-commerce platform for poverty alleviation to sell farm produce.

It holds irregular events to advertise high-quality agricultural products via 17 group chats on social media platform WeChat, covering over 8,000 households from 15 neighborhoods.

The town sold over 7,500 kilograms of fruit and vegetables from greenhouses for poverty alleviation in 2019, with the sales volume reaching about 200,000 yuan (roughly $28,000) , which benefited local poor people, said Yu Hongli, Party chief of the town.

Yu added that the town will further advertise local products through online and offline channels, and expects a surge in revenue this year.

To expand rural consumption, this year’s government work report said that China will support the rollout of e-commerce and express delivery services in rural areas.

Cold chain logistics in rural areas, which is vital to the development of rural e-commerce, became a hot topic during the just concluded “two sessions.”

Ma Xulin, head of the General Service Department of the State Post Bureau and member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), submitted a proposal for breaking bottlenecks in the development of cold chain logistics in rural areas.

Liu Xin, also a CPPCC National Committee member, thought that the construction of cold chain logistics infrastructure in rural areas would boost rural vitalization and help farmers increase income. 

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

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