Across China: E-commerce injects vitality to rural revitalization

Since the apples were harvested at the end of October, Zhang Ru, an apple grower, has been busy packing and delivering apples every day, with daily sales of dozens of kilograms.

"We used to sell our apples at the markets in the county. Our apples are now sold across the country through my Wechat Moments (a social platform that allows users to share images and texts)," said Zhang, who was born in the 1990s in Wanrong County, of Yuncheng City, north China's Shanxi Province.

The young woman said that around 30 percent of her apple yield can be sold via the internet.

The city of Yuncheng is dubbed the "golden apple production base" due to its geographic and climate advantages. With a total plantation area of 100,000 hectares, the annual apple output in Yuncheng reaches 4 billion km, and planting apples has become a mainstay for many farmers.

In 2021, the brand value of "Yuncheng Apple" was over 5.6 billion yuan (about 800.29 million U.S. dollars), according to Fan Boping, director of the city's fruit industry development center.

However, the high-quality fruit didn't bring good profits for the growers. It was challenging to find buyers, and the sales volume was not guaranteed, said Jia Jinmao, a local farmer in his 60s.

"I have seen many young people return to the county from big cities in recent years. They sell apples on the internet and the fruit can go directly to the customers. It truly broadens the sales channel, which makes me want to have a go at e-commerce," Jia said.

"You have to know how to grow apples on the one hand, and how to sell on the other hand. The internet can help you sell good things at a good price," said Zhang, adding that she participated in e-commerce training held by the county government and is preparing for an online shop.

Meanwhile, the improving logistics system in rural areas has also boosted e-commerce development. As of July, a vast logistics net has covered all the 1,541 villages of 117 townships in Yuncheng.

"The popularity of the internet and the improvement of rural logistics have made Yuncheng Apple go further and sell at a good price, and also help rural revitalization," said Geng Yeqiang, a professor at the School of Economics and Management, Shanxi University.

The change in apple sales in Yuncheng is the epitome of the change in Chinese farmers' lives. Since the country has promoted the coordinated development of the rural revitalization strategy, Chinese rural residents have seen their income and living standards improve.

Data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed that, in 2021, the per capita disposable income of rural residents nationwide grew by 9.7 percent year on year to 18,931 yuan, up 125.7 percent from 2012. 

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