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Shaanxi promotes a model of “internet + poverty reduction”, July 19, 2017 Adjust font size:

Wang Juan has no professional training in design, yet recently she has been immersed in designing packaging for corn grits. Everything—including the color, typefaces and patterns on the packaging—is revised again and again. “Attractive packaging can get more clicks on products sold online, and it is also a way of increasing the added value of agricultural products,” she says.

The first female college student from Hulu Village, Yaoqu Town in Tongchuan, Shaanxi Province, upon graduation in 2013 Wang Juan started a business in her hometown. Her dream was to help her fellow villagers achieve a level of prosperity by selling high-quality agricultural products all over the country. Today, her dream is gradually being realized through China Telecom E-commerce Service Center, operated by Wang Juan and her husband.

Hulu Village is traversed by a series of deep gullies, and from one generation to the next its inhabitants have lived on the mountains. Their incomes are low, and 65 households are still living below the poverty line. Wang Juan created Lvzhiran farming cooperative in her hometown to raise chickens and grow walnuts, but the business struggled due to limited sales channels. With broadband spreading into rural villages, Wang Juan set up Yaoqu E-commerce Service Center in 2016.

“Based on the telecommunication networks of China Telecom, the e-commerce service center covers four levels, with R&D at city level, operations at county level, service centers in towns, and service stations in villages,” says Yan Yanbin, general manager of Tongchuan Branch of China Telecom. The service centers can help promote industrial products in rural areas while giving agricultural products access to urban markets, thus solving the problem of insufficient market access for agricultural products due to a knowledge gap.

In the business hall of China Telecom Yaoqu E-commerce Service Center, agricultural products like native eggs, walnuts and corns are available on the left, and daily necessities like washing powder and tooth paste on the right, with a business counter in the center.

We process and pack special agricultural products and sell them on the “Zhaojin Mall” e-commerce platform,” says Wang Juan. “We also procure daily necessities and agricultural materials for farmers.” Last year, she helped villagers from 18 poor households sell more than 6,500 kg of walnuts. The higher prices they obtained helped to increase their income by more than 40,000 yuan (U.S. $5,917). She also handed out 5,500 chickens to 60 poor households and provided them with free breeding and disease prevention skills, buying back the mature chickens at a price higher than the regular market price.

“Please help me find some advice on walnut plantation management from the internet,” asks Yang Yaohang. The low-income farmer is standing behind Wang Juan, his eyes glued to the computer screen. As well as doing business, farmers go to Wang Juan’s e-commerce service center for information about agricultural materials and technologies. Yang explains that farmers lived at the mercy of natural conditions in the past because they didn’t know much about markets or technology. Now, with the internet, they can rely more on the power of information. With the help of the e-commerce service center Yang enjoyed an income rise of 8,600 yuan (U.S. $1,272) last year, which effectively doubled his total income from the previous year.

As of May the e-commerce service center planned to cover 208 poor villages in Tongchuan, and the number will increase to 358 before the end of this year. Yan Yanbin explains: “Through cooperation with enterprises in logistics, insurance and finance, the e-commerce service center has expanded its business to cover telecom payment, online sales and procurement, receiving and distributing express deliveries, logistics, and buying insurance. Villagers can do businesses, handle administrative issues, access financial services, and even start their own businesses without having to leave the village.”

The development of rural e-commerce cannot be realized without well-established information infrastructure in rural areas. By the end of 2016, all villages in Shaanxi Province had telephone connections and more than 95% of them had access to broadband. 4G network covered all counties and towns, providing information services on agricultural production, rural life and training.

Rural e-commerce helps poor households create a self-sustaining system for increasing prosperity, while a big data information network has linked all factors relating to poverty and provides a reference resource for targeted poverty alleviation. The big data comprehensive service center, jointly set up by Shaanxi Provincial Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development and Shaanxi Branch of China Telecom, started online operations last September. As of today, the platform has opened 10,400 accounts in 29 counties and has registered 1,260,000 poor people.

The system provides five categories of data, including villagers living below the poverty line, poverty alleviation measures, successful projects, performance evaluation, and data analysis. If you click on “villagers below the poverty line”, you can see basic information about poor households, their living conditions, support measures being taken, results, and people responsible for the poverty alleviation work.

“People living below the poverty line are the foundation of the big data platform”, says Wang Jinpeng, deputy general manager of Shaanxi Branch of China Telecom. The platform has provided dynamic management of such people by updating a database of poor households and unifying poverty standards and data management.

“The big data platform can bring all sorts of details under focus in the process of fighting poverty,” says Zhu Xinjian, director of the Poverty Alleviation Information Service Center of Shangzhou District in Shangluo. “It can help us adjust poverty alleviation measures according to different situations, and even supervise the work of poverty alleviation officials.” The platform provides a clear overview of the officials, including their rosters, duties and achievements. By October of 2016, a total of 110,166 people from 35,554 households had been registered on Shangzhou’s targeted poverty alleviation platform, and 282 system administrators had received training.

The big data comprehensive service platform has set up a poverty alleviation information network operating at levels ranging from individual villages to the province. It has also established a closed circle of dynamic management of poor households, implementation of poverty alleviation measures, results evaluation and analysis, and performance-based salaries. That is why the platform is described as having replaced the previous practice of “flood irrigation” with “drip irrigation”, which produces more targeted results. Wang explains that the service platform was ready to start operations online in 56 national-level poor counties in Shaanxi by the end of May, and would cover all counties and cities by the end of June.



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