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Chinese Cities Step Up Local E-commerce

It’s a local initiative that’s giving people the support needed. It’s a win-win situation facilitated by digital adoption and the unifying power of Information and Communication Technology (ICT). Plus, it’s teaching everyone to gear up toward technology.

Now, more than ever, the need to better leverage e-commerce to sell high-quality agricultural products to more consumers and make logistics services more efficient and cost-effective has become more pronounced for local Chinese businesses. To bridge that gap, various cities in China have carried out helpful explorations to enhance their brand building and improve logistics systems.

In recent years, digital has become the solution for local entrepreneurs’ woes. Flourishing e-commerce in vast rural areas across China has served as a new platform for the circulation of agricultural products, broadened the channels for farmers to increase their income, and stimulated the potential for rural vitalisation.

The picture before was not so pretty. As a matter of fact, many farmers have had trouble selling their high-quality agricultural products online. For starters, there’s the question of credibility. One concrete example is the case of Wuchang rice, a sought-after brand. One Yu Dianhong, a resident seller in Lujia village, Minle Korean ethnic township, Wuchang city, had to show a photo of his ID every time people question the authenticity of his Wuchang rice.

For Yu, things started to change in 2015: Wuchang city created a website to publicise information about products under the city’s rice brands. What’s more, they established rice traceability and an anti-counterfeiting system based on the agricultural Internet of Things (IoT).

The website can help consumers easily confirm the authenticity of my products. And after scanning the QR code on the packaging, they can find out which village the rice was grown, who grew it, what variety it belongs to and what the quality report says.

– Yu Dianhong, Wuchang Rice Seller

The results speak for themselves. After the website, Yu experienced his sales more than doubled.

The brand-building brings rural e-commerce onto the fast lane of development. By making efforts to continuously promote the construction of regional public brands of agricultural products, cities can:

  • Increase the appeal of local characteristic agricultural products
  • Facilitate large-scale production
  • Standardised management and industrialised operation
  • Improving the quality, efficiency and market competitiveness of rural e-commerce.

Technology has indeed helped local businesses flourish. With electric vehicles running on rails, local businesses of navel oranges need not navigate high mountains and steep slopes on foot, minus the cost. As one community manager disclosed: “The transportation cost per kilogram of the fruit used to be 0.24 yuan, but it has now been cut to 0.1 yuan, which means a reduction of 35,000 yuan in total a year.”

In Zigui, there are 588 routes for on-rail vehicles stretching 119,300 metres in length, which help transport navel oranges from more than 2,667 hectares of orchards in mountains to the roadside. After the navel oranges are transported out of the mountains, the next step is to take them from villages to the market, for which Zigui county mobilised local express delivery companies, e-commerce enterprises, and rural comprehensive transportation service stations and built a village-level logistics service system.

China’s digital transformation is making things happen. ICT is making inroads into rural societies that before, were left with the slow pace of old technology.

The Asian country is helping other nations when it comes to digital adoption and, recently, had a tie-up with Egypt. Moreover,  it wants to cooperate with the global community too. Recently, China has expressed it is willing to discuss and come to an agreement with other nations when it comes to Financial Technology (FinTech), another emerging technology changing the world as we speak, as reported on OpenGov Asia.

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