Rural startup in Guangdong uses online platforms to help poor families
Updated 11:04, 21-Oct-2018
By Cui Hui'ao, You Siyuan
E-commerce now plays an increasingly major role in China's drive to alleviate poverty, with rural entrepreneurs investing in infrastructure and logistics projects. One such startup in south China's Guangdong Province is helping those in need.
Two years ago, Zhang Yuming set up an e-commerce company in Jinguang Village in Zijin County of Heyuan City. He called it "Cun Zhang Bo Bo," or "Uncle Village Chief."
The software engineer returned home after college with the ambition of connecting rural people with the rest of the world.
"The countryside has many valuable resources, like tourism and agricultural produce. In my village, farmers tend to poultry and grow grapefruit, but they didn't know where to sell their products," says Zhang. 
Poultry farmer Liu Weikun knows how hard accessing a market can be. He used to rely on word of mouth to promote his produce, but that was neither efficient nor sustainable.
Sometimes he couldn't sell his chickens and the flock would die.
"I'd lose a ton of money. Now the e-commerce platform helps me sell my chickens, and I can finally make a steady stream of income."
Zhang Yuming works on his computer in Jinguang Village, Zijin County, Heyuan City, south China's Guangdong Province. /CGTN Photo

Zhang Yuming works on his computer in Jinguang Village, Zijin County, Heyuan City, south China's Guangdong Province. /CGTN Photo

Liu now moved from a shabby structure to a decent house, and his business is growing.
He now sells 3,000 chickens and ducks a year on Cun Zhang Bo Bo, making more than 100,000 yuan (over 14,400 US dollars) annually.
He does not know who is buying his poultry, but one thing is for sure: demand is high.
Zhang says the biggest challenge his company faces in buying farmers' produce is discrepancy in quality.
"I have to make sure that the breeding time, quality, and the fertilizer meet the same standards. Because they are sold under the brand of Cun Zhang Bo Bo."
In order to expand its distribution channels, Zhang's platform is collaborating with Chinese e-commerce giants like Alibaba and That way the local produce can reach an even wider market.
Beyond selling villagers' produce online, Zhang's e-commerce platform also focuses on tourism. The Jinguang Ecological Park is one of its central projects. 
Located just an hour away from Shenzhen, the park has beautiful rivers and gardens where tourists can pick their own fruits and vegetables.
Zhang expects the garden, currently in the last stages of construction, will attract tens of thousands of urbanites looking to experience the countryside culture. And one can only imagine how this boom in rural tourism will benefit local villagers.
"By the end of this month, more than 20 of our newly furnished guest houses will begin operations. In the future, villagers will also turn their own homes into guest houses. Our hot spring resort will also be a big draw for tourists," said village official Zheng Xiaofeng.
Almost all of the 280 households in the village have been lifted above the poverty line. Zheng says the next goal is to help them prosper, by riding the country's e-commerce wave.
Liu plans to build more coops, as demand for his fowls continues to rise. As he puts it, the more chickens he sells online, the better life is for his family.