China's e-commerce has developed rapidly in rural areas, and has covered all 832 state-level poor counties across the country, said Wang Bingnan, vice-minister for commerce on Tuesday.
The consumption habits of rural residences have changed with increasing services and commodities entering the countryside through e-commerce, the population of rural netizens has exceeded 250 million so far, Wang said.
Rural e-commerce has attracted a large number of migrant workers, college students, and retired soldiers to return home and start their own businesses. By the end of 2019, there were 13.84 million rural e-commerce shops, official data showed.
Online retail sales in rural areas have increased from 180 billion yuan in 2014 to 1.7 trillion yuan in 2019. The total online retail sales of agricultural products reached 397.5 billion yuan in 2019, a year-on-year increase of 27 percent, increasing more than three million farmers' income.
Wang acknowledged that there's still room for improvement in rural e-commerce development. He said that his department will work with the Ministry of Finance and other relevant departments to improve infrastructure construction in rural areas in order to smooth urban-rural trade channels. The channels for agricultural products to enter the city will be further expanded with supporting third-party delivery service entering rural areas, improving rural logistics system, and cultivating local brands.
China is on the way to achieve zero poverty by the end of 2020, however, the coronavirus outbreak has brought unprecedented challenges to the poverty alleviation course as containment measures restricted the movement of people and goods.
To counter such adverse effects in rural areas, a growing number of rural residents are turning to promote agricultural products on e-commerce platforms. China's e-commerce giants like Pinduoduo, JD.com and Alibaba's Taobao have all come up with measures to support rural e-commerce, such as training internet broadcasters, reinforcing local logistics system and standardizing agricultural production in rural areas.