New trend: Rural e-commerce is developing rapidly in China

In a small village in southwest China’s Guizhou province, Wang Jing returned from the bustling metropolis of Shenzhen and began his entrepreneurial journey. This choice was a departure from the norm, as people who leave their hometowns rarely give up the charms and opportunities of city life. Nevertheless, Wang’s decision made ten years ago has proven to be both decisive and highly beneficial.

Armed with just his smartphone, Wang, a Miao ethnic group, embarked on a mission to teach people the art of growing mushrooms using corn cobs through short, easy-to-follow videos on various online platforms. This initiative gained widespread attention, resulting in her over 3.6 million followers.

For the past 10 years, her e-commerce company has been dedicated to providing free training on diverse mushroom cultivation and management techniques, benefiting farmers in her hometown and internet users across the country.

Mr. Wang also helps farmers market their produce through e-commerce platforms and a skilled livestreaming team. As a direct result of this initiative, more than 2,000 local villagers have seen a significant increase in their income, and more than 60,000 farmers have turned to Ms. Wang’s online mushroom cultivation tutorials and eagerly sought her guidance and support. I am.

Wang is not the only one using technology to bring prosperity to his home village. Many young and business-savvy Chinese have joined her, bringing the lucrative e-commerce model to the places where they grew up. Thanks to the rapid growth of apps like Douyin (the Chinese equivalent of TikTok), live streaming and online sales capabilities have accelerated her e-commerce. Homegrown produce is the new trend in online communities, and farmers in far-flung villages are gaining skills to promote their products in an accessible way to a burgeoning consumer base.

Liu Wenguang, a villager in his 40s, changed his life for the better by chance after venturing into the short video market as a hobby. He shared his experiences repairing home appliances and became widely admired for his optimistic and hard-working qualities, and went on to become an in-demand livestream sales host.

Mr. Liu’s hometown, Luogang County in central China’s Hubei Province, is a rice wine-producing region, and even after becoming a star, Mr. Liu did not forget to promote it. In his one livestream sales event that lasted four hours, Liu secured over 300 orders for him.

Stories like Mr. Liu’s and Mr. Wang’s are numerous, and the number of cases has proliferated in recent years, coinciding with China’s rural revitalization program. Aiming to further promote rural e-commerce, the Ministry of Commerce and several other government departments are leading efforts to strengthen county-level business networks, connecting approximately 1,000 trade and service networks located in county towns. It is overseeing the renovation of the center and more than 3,900 similar markets in the town. Town over the past year.

Meanwhile, hundreds of more logistics distribution centers were built in less developed regions of the country, greatly expanding the scope of express delivery. According to the Ministry of Commerce, last year, the national number of local online businesses reached 17.3 million, showing a growth of 6.2% over the previous year. Notably, live streaming e-commerce accounts for 33.1% of these shops.

In the era of rapid Internet expansion, rural e-commerce has spread from urban to rural areas and from east to west, even involving poorer regions of China. Starting from a few “Taobao villages” and early grassroots e-commerce entrepreneurs, rural e-commerce has now become mainstream, and rural online retail sales have reached trillions of yuan.

(Cover: Live streaming sales event held in Xiaogan City, Hubei Province, central China on July 9, 2022./CFP)

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