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Online shops lift Shandong farmers out of poverty

2019/10/22 16:17:15   source:chinadaily.com.cn

Ren Qingsheng, Party secretary of Dinglou village, Daji township, Caoxian county, arranges performance costumes at his warehouse for sale on his Taobao online store. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Traditionally, when girls in villages of Heze city, Shandong province, got married, their parents would buy gold and silver jewelry for their dowries. Now, gold and silver have been replaced by Taobao online stores.

"Taobao online stores have become popular, fashionable and practical for dowries in our village. Parents hope their children can become rich by running them," said Ren Qingsheng, Party secretary of Dinglou village, Daji township, Caoxian county, which is administered by Heze.

Taobao, the major e-commerce platform of Alibaba, is leading the rapidly growing e-commerce sector in Heze. The number of the city's "Taobao villages" - communities with annual transactions of more than 10 million yuan and more than 100 online stores - had risen to 307 by June from two in 2013, making Heze one of the cities with the most Taobao villages in China.

E-commerce has allowed farmers to achieve prosperous lives, said Ren.

Ren, 48, formerly a farmer in Dinglou, where farmers have been making stage costumes for more than 30 years, opened an online store on the e-commerce platform selling costumes in 2009.

Prior to this, he traveled across the country with bags of costumes, selling them to photography studios, but the profits were meager. He also tried working in cities, but was unable to make ends meet.

Now Ren owns his own online store with annual sales of 8 million yuan.

The annual sales of stage costumes generated from Taobao stores run by villagers in Dinglou have surpassed 500 million yuan and the annual net income has exceeded 80,000 yuan per capita, said Ren.

Ren Qingyong, a 70-year-old Taobao online store owner in Dinglou village, Daji township, Caoxian county, checks his online store on a computer. [Photo provided to China Daily]

"Every villager, young or old, can find a job in the costume business and earn money," Ren said, adding that a grandmother in his village can usually earn 50 yuan a day by making knot buttons.

The e-commerce boom has encouraged many young people working in cities to return to rural areas and launch startups.

Li Tong, who was born in the 1990s, returned to his hometown of Sunlaojia in Caoxian county in 2017 and opened an online store selling Chinese knots.

"For me, e-commerce technology and ideas are not problems, funding and making Chinese knots are," said Li.

"The good things are that the local government provided me with subsidies for building workshops and I can apply for loans specially designed for developing e-commerce," Li said.

"Now my enterprise can produce about 500,000 Chinese knots, generating sales of 3.5 million yuan," said Li.

Alibaba has set up a cross-border e-commerce base in Caoxian county supporting sales of local food. According to the government of Caoxian county, the sales volume of asparagus from the county accounts for two-thirds of the country's total.

E-commerce has proved to be an efficient tool for poverty-alleviation and revitalization of rural areas in Heze, said Lan Tao of the e-commerce office of Caoxian county.

A total of 12 villages have been lifted out of poverty through development into Taobao villages in Caoxian county, which has the biggest population in Heze.

Statistics show e-commerce deals maintained a year-on-year increase of more than 40 percent during the first seven months in Heze, reaching 227.2 billion yuan. 

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