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Rural commerce gets digital tech upgrade

Source: Shanxi daily Time: 25 03,2022

The internet and digital technologies are bringing fundamental changes to the agricultural industry and lives in rural Shanxi,said a resident in the county of Pingshun in the southeast of the province.

Wang Yani,who is in her 20s,used to be a teacher in a vocational school in Shanxi.She returned to her home village of Nanpo in Pingshun county several years ago to run an online store selling farm produce.One of her methods of promoting goods is by livestreaming outdoors in the fields.

Along with the rapid growth of her online business,Wang later founded a farming cooperative.Incorporating more than 120 households across five villages as stakeholders,the cooperative has contributed to boosting local development,according to officials of the villages.

Fang Liang and Liu Jing,a married couple in the village of Shenlongwan in Pingshun county,have been in online operations even longer than Wang.They began e-commerce sales and livestreaming eight years ago.

"We had more than 5,000 views a day during the harvest seasons,"Fang said."Through livestreaming,our produce has been sold to many regions in the country."

Located at the heart of the Taihang Mountains,Pingshun used to be a landlocked county with poor connectivity-in terms of transport and communications-with the outside world.

As roads and telecoms to the county improved in recent years,local officials decided to use e-commerce to boost rural development.In 2019,the county began to hire e-commerce experts to train its farmers.

In that year,more than 3,500 residents took part in various training courses.As a result,the number of online stores increased from about 30 to nearly 400.Online sales amounted to 80 million yuan($12.58 million).

According to Liu Linsong,head of the county government,Pingshun is now one of the pilot counties of rural e-commerce development in China.He added that Pingshun's online sales volume of farm produce reached 276 million yuan in 2021.

Farmers'livestreams have also made Pingshun's natural attractions better known to tourists and have promoted rural tourism.

Shenlongwan village,for instance,is an enticing locale with rising cliffs,deep valleys and dense forests,according to Zhang Pu,a local official.

"As the scenic views have been frequently used as the backdrop of livestreaming shows,Shenlongwan has attracted the attention of mountaineers and sightseers,"the official said."We have welcomed growing numbers of visitors over the past several years."

Pingshun county is only one example of Shanxi's booming development in rural e-commerce.

According to the Shanxi Rural Revitalization Bureau,a total of 59 counties in Shanxi had launched demonstration programs for rural e-commerce by the end of 2021.

  Guo Yanjie contributed to this story.

  By Yuan Shenggao