Electronic commerce has spread throughout many parts of rural China in recent years, arousing public attention nationwide.
Jiang Qiping, General-secretary of the Research Center of Information at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, says three of this year’s top ten online merchants selected by the internet trade site Alibaba.com are based in rural China.
He also says the number of online shops and merchants in rural China this year is expected to hit a record number.
“By the end of August, the volume of online shops and merchants in rural areas had reached 300-thousand and 500-thousand, respectively. Online merchants from rural areas, most of whom are migrant workers, can earn an annual income of between 24-thousand yuan and 60-thousand yuan.”
Zhang Ruidong, an e-commerce expert, believes that because of the global financial crisis, migrant workers who learned about e-commerce in cities have returned home with their newfound skills to start their own businesses.
33-year-old Wang Xiaobang comes from a small village in west China’s Shanxi Province. After working in Beijing for seven years, he opened an online shop selling local products on Taobao.com, China’s most popular e-commerce website.
Wang says e-commerce has brought about many positive changes in his life.
“Our total sales last year hit over two million yuan, and this year they may hit 2.6 million yuan. Now my parents, wife and children have a better life than they did before, and I drive my mini-van to purchase grain.”
Besides migrant workers, many college students from rural areas have also embraced e-commerce.
Du Qianli, a former graduate student at Zhengzhou University in central China, failed to find a decent job in several cities after he completed his studies. But then he stumbled upon the idea of leading his fellow villagers in selling mountain products such as fruit and medicinal herbs on the internet. The products appealed to many urban consumers. A year later, Du was able to repay 60-thousand yuan in student loans, while the villagers’ income increased with the money they earned from their e-commerce venture.
“I’m the first one to do e-business in my village. In the beginning, my villagers couldn’t believe that we could sell agricultural products on a computer and earn money. When our sales hit one million yuan in 2010, they were very surprised. They saw the truth that the internet could play such a big role in the countryside, so they gradually accepted it.”
Wang Xiangdong, Director of the Research Center of Information at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, says thanks to the rapid development of e-commerce in rural China, agricultural products have richer marketing channels, farmers now have munificent rewards, and rural areas have been able to continue modernizing.