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Chinese farmers in rural Guiyang leverage the cloud to sell their wares

2020-07-30 14:45 1139

GUIYANG, China, July 30, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Message alerts from users of China's popular shopping website, Taobao, kept popping up on the cellphone belonging to Long Rui, head of Xifeng Yurui E-commerce in Libei Village, a farming community in Guiyang province's Yongjing Town (Xifeng County), as the prospective buyers browsed the company's product catalog. Just a short while later, orders started streaming in on the office's computer screen: a customer from Jiangsu province ordered 1.5 kilograms of pickled cabbage, while another, from Shandong province, purchased 2 servings of sauerkraut bean and rice soup, and a third, from Zhejiang province, asked for 1.5 kilograms of rice tofu.

The company has set up online stores on three e-commerce platforms, Long said. He regularly ships more than 30 kinds of agricultural products, including small tofu cubes with paste, green peppers and glutinous rice cakes, to shoppers nationwide.

In an in-depth interview, the reporter from Huanqiu.com, the online presence of the Global Times, a nationwide newspaper, learned that there are many examples in today's Xifeng County of e-commerce platforms providing a venue through which farmers from rural, hard-to-reach areas gain access to distant markets. The village, which once relied exclusively on traditional agriculture, now sells substantial quantities of local farm produce daily to all corners of the country via e-commerce.

As part of a government scheme to promote development in disadvantaged areas, Xifeng County was named a National e-Commerce Into Rural Comprehensive Demonstration County in 2019. Since joining the scheme, local government officials has aggressively promoted the accelerated development of rural e-commerce and helped famers across Guiyang "sell goods to customers outside of their mountainous rural district".

The county is now home to more than 1,600 e-commerce entrepreneurs, who, collectively, have opened 264 online stores on third-party platforms including JD.com, Suning and Taobao. They sell more than 400 kinds of products, having recorded sales to date topping 65,709,800 yuan (approx. US$9.4 million).

E-commerce platforms, by virtue of their arrival in the country's rural markets, have changed the way commerce is transacted in these often hard to reach zones, bringing massive changes to day-to-day life, as well as becoming an important vehicle for promoting targeted poverty alleviation and rural revitalization.

In order to help villagers exit the grinding poverty and, in some cases, even become rich as a result of their access to the online vendors, an e-commerce operation center in Xifeng County with a planned area of more than 4,000 square meters is now under construction. Yang Zhonghua, member of Party Committee of Xifeng County Bureau of Commerce, explained that the center plans to offer a series of workshops integrating every step of the process of learning how to become an online entrepreneur, running the gamut from product and merchandise display, communications and public relations, research incubation, online product development, brand cultivation to marketing planning, among others. The center is expected to quickly become the hub for overall planning of e-commerce efforts throughout the county.

"After completion of the center, we will also train a group of online marketers here, and encourage rural e-commerce merchants with smart minds to keep sharpening their skills and connect resources, and, by doing so, give them a real chance to 'pursue their dreams' more quickly," Yang said.

Since the launch of Guiyang City's Three-year Rural E-commerce Action Plan (2015-2017), a scheme to promote online selling, the city has strengthened the integration and development of traditional agriculture and e-commerce by fully supporting traditional produce growers and professional farmers' cooperatives in selling goods online. Relying on local and third-party e-commerce platforms such as Taobao's Guizhou Portal and JD.com's Guizhou Portal, the city has provided local farmers from the hard-to-reach areas with access to distant markets by exploring and establishing two models: agricultural producers + production facilities + online shops and associations + cooperatives + online shops.

In the meantime, with an investment of nearly 500 million yuan (approx. US$71 million), the municipal government has built and now operates 13 e-commerce industrial parks, which have become home to nearly 400 enterprises and to which over 70 firms have become affiliated. An increasing number of traditional agricultural producers, professional farmers' cooperatives and individual farmers have used the e-commerce channel as a new revenue source.

In addition, by providing local farmers with access to digital markets, Guiyang has accelerated the promotion of agricultural products across urban areas while doing the same for industrial products throughout rural areas. Of note, with the guidance of the municipal government, Baiyun District, Kaiyang County, Qingzhen County-level City, Wudang District, Xiuwen County and Xifeng County have been particularly active in promoting e-commerce in rural areas by supporting the establishment and operation of online sales networks and helping establish rural logistics networks.

According to available statistics, Guiyang's online sales of local agricultural products totaled some 1.7 billion yuan (approx. US$241 million) in 2019. Online platforms though which the products were sold included the Guizhou e-commerce service, JD.com's Guizhou Poverty Alleviation Portal, Tmall's flagship store selling Guizhou-originated produce, Suning's Guizhou Portal, Daocunli, and the targeted poverty alleviation portal of gogbuy.com. Of singular note, online retail sales of Libei village in Xifeng County alone reached 65.7098 million yuan (approx. US$9.3 million) last year, an increase of 56.74 per cent from a year earlier, driving the economic growth of 13 surrounding villages and increasing revenue for 3,200 local farmers, 280 of whom were economically disadvantaged.

"Guiyang has been committed to eradicating poverty by boosting consumption of local produce through providing both the domestic and international markets with greater access to the products," said Pan Jian, deputy director of Guiyang Agricultural and Rural Bureau. Through the e-commerce cloud platforms, Guizhou-made products have been sold to 356 cities as well as 1,908 districts and counties in 31 provinces in addition to Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

Source: Huanqiu.com
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