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E-commerce promoted in Hunan to combat poverty,October 11, 2017 Adjust font size:

With a large number of people in poverty, Hunan is one of the major battlefields in the war against poverty. It is also one of the places where Party General Secretary Xi Jinping raised the strategy of targeted poverty alleviation.

In April 2016, the CPC Hunan Provincial Committee and Provincial Government released the Opinion on Implementing Decisions of the CPC Central Committee and the Central Government to Win the War against Poverty. This document outlines the key tasks involved in creating the “Internet+ Poverty Alleviation Project” in the rural areas. The Hunan Provincial Department of Commerce has responded with a strenuous effort to cultivate special industries and promote e-commerce in 8,000 villages in 51 poverty-stricken counties. The aim is to increase rural incomes by using market forces and encouraging enterprises to launch initiatives, while remaining under government guidance and with the help of the relevant departments. The document also proposes a new urban-rural circulation market system that allows a two-way flow of products between urban and rural areas. After nearly one year of practical experience, it is clear that e-commerce can be a new weapon in the war against poverty.

In 2016, the Hunan Provincial Department of Commerce conducted a series of in-depth field studies and analysis in its poverty-stricken counties. Together with a well-known domestic e-commerce platform and major e-commerce players within the province, it then outlined a roadmap for e-commerce. The roadmap has specified key tasks for promoting e-commerce, including growing agricultural specialties that are suitable for online selling, exploring the right online marketing model for agricultural products to access urban markets, and building a proper system to conduct an e-commerce poverty alleviation campaign. 

Resources have been integrated to support policy implementation. Under the Opinion on Guiding and Promoting E-commerce Poverty Alleviation, all authorities within Hunan province have continued to integrate resources from government departments concerned with commerce, poverty alleviation, agriculture, telecommunications management, economy and information technology, industry and commerce, quality inspection, food and drug administration, and finance and banking. The aim is to enhance support for poverty alleviation through e-commerce. Financial support for this project has also been substantially increased: in 2016, the Hunan Provincial Department of Commerce invested 118 million yuan (c. U.S. $17 million) in e-commerce poverty alleviation projects; at the same time Hunan has also managed to secure 105 million yuan (c. U.S. $15 million) from the central budget for demonstration projects introducing e-commerce into rural areas; the Provincial Poverty Alleviation and Development Office has allocated 20 million yuan (c. U.S. $2.90 million) to build e-commerce service stations in villages and help poor households to open online stores. All poor counties have also tried to contribute by raising funds through various channels.

We have enhanced skills training and popularized public understanding of e-commerce. Commerce departments at all levels have organized training sessions in applied e-commerce; many e-commerce enterprises have also pitched in by offering training at villagers’ homes; they have also trained a group of experts who can independently operate e-commerce platforms. In 2016, more than 300 training sessions on rural e-commerce were organized in the province, involving more than 20,000 attendees. 

We have mobilized enterprises to build a service system. Following the principle of “government taking the initiative, while enterprises contributing to policy implementation”, Hunan province has launched an e-commerce service system by setting up service centers at county and township levels. Enterprises like Alibaba Rural Taobao, JD, Huxiang Commerce, and Hunan Postal Service have set up county-level service centers in many poverty-stricken counties. Alibaba Rural Taobao, JD, and major local e-commerce platforms have even gone a step further by setting up more than 2000 village-level e-commerce service stations in 51poverty-stricken counties. 

In terms of channels to take quality agricultural specialties from poor regions to urban markets, Hunan has become the first province in China to organize promotional activities through e-commerce by combining online and offline marketing. E-commerce enterprises participate in the campaign by integrating resources to promote one outstanding brand in each county; they are also exploring ways to pool the resources of the government, service providers, and poor households and promote e-commerce poverty alleviation through rural tourism. Rural e-commerce serves as a handy tool for poverty-stricken counties to explore market potential. For example, Qidong County has set up characteristic halls on major e-commerce platforms to promote its iconic daylily; people in Sangzhi County collect distinctive agriculture products for online sales; Xinhua County has tried live-streaming farming activities and promotes agricultural products on the e-commerce platform.


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