Livestreaming, express delivery shortening the distance between banana farmers in Guangxi and consumers across the country

(People's Daily Online) 18:08, September 16, 2021

Nanning, capital city of southwest China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, is a major banana production base in China. In the past, farmers often encountered difficulties in selling bananas due to a cyclical supply-demand imbalance and extreme weather. Nowadays, these obstacles no longer exist because farmers are able to sell their bananas online.

Lin Zongjian films bananas produced in his farm. (Photo/Su Zeyou)

In Nanning, live-streaming has emerged as a new option for banana marketing. Lin Zongjian, a farmer and also a live-streaming host in Jinling township in Nanning, has been busy lately selling locally-grown bananas online as the township has embraced the banana harvesting season. While Lin was introducing bananas in front of the camera, viewers of his show could watch as banana growers in behind were seen sorting and packing bananas at a plantation. Lin disclosed that during a live-streaming session he hosted a day before, a total of more than 6,000 orders were placed by his viewers online.

“Presenting a live-streaming show at the plantation is persuasive evidence to prove the products’ origin, and also creates an immersive experience for viewers,” Lin explained. In 2019, Lin became the first live-streaming host in his hometown. Over the past two years, the number of his followers on the platform grew from zero to more than 100,000. Usually, the man spends 6 hours a day hosting live-streamed shows to sell local agricultural products.

“During the harvest season, I can receive between 5,000 and 10,000 orders a day,” Lin disclosed. To keep up with the demand, the man hired 30 workers to pack the products, while several other growers are also now cooperating with e-commerce platforms to expand the sales of their own products.

“The bananas are sold at prices between 2 and 4 yuan per kilogram. Last year, I planted 92 mu (about 6 hectares) of bananas, and with a unit yield of 2,000 kilograms per mu, the fruits generated considerable earnings for me,” said a grower surnamed Lin.

In the eyes of Lin, the key to a successful e-commerce business in rural areas is the accessibility of courier delivery services. In the past two years, a number of courier companies have established distribution sites in Jinling. “Besides collecting bananas at the plantations, we also handle 6,000 to 7,000 parcels of bananas at our distribution site each day. This year, the number of such parcels is projected to exceed 1.5 million,” said Li Fujie, head of a distribution site of YTO Express Group, a leading express delivery firm in China. Li disclosed that their revenues generated from mailing parcels of bananas is expected to reach 4 million yuan this year.

Delivery man Lu Zaochu, who works with China Post, became acquainted with Lin through his work. According to Lu, in the past, it was inefficient and costly to deliver parcels as the whole process involved several intermediary distribution sites. “Nowadays, with Lin telling me how many parcels he is going to mail, I will make a phone call to my colleagues to ask him to directly collect parcels from Lin and then have the parcels delivered. Normally, it takes three days for the products to get to the customers from across the country,” Lu said. Statistics from the postal administration of Guangxi indicated that since this year, 8 million parcels containing bananas have been mailed in Nanning, and the total number throughout the year is expected to hit 10 million.

“Delivery costs are a top concern for us,” said Lin, expressing the hope that the delivery cost could be controlled so that it can remain within a scientific and stable range. Talking about this, Lin said he plans to optimize the packing process so as to reduce costs, while suggesting that the courier delivery companies arrange delivery vehicles at distribution sites near his workplace so as to offer improved convenience for people like him when mailing parcels.

(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)


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