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Reporter's log: Livestreaming, e-commerce play crucial role in Gansu's poverty alleviation drive by Matthew Robert Bossons,November 16, 2020 Adjust font size:

Zhang Jiacheng and the author pose in an apple orchard in Longhuai village, Li county, in Gansu province’s Longnan city. [Photo by Matthew Bossons for]

To alleviate poverty and help raise incomes, the government in Li county began offering free courses in 2013 to teach residents how to use the internet to expand their businesses and reach new customers across China.

The education program has since achieved tangible results.

According to Director Shi of Li county's E-Commerce Service Center, over 20,000 people have attended classes covering various topics, ranging from e-commerce to livestreaming.

Zhang is among the program's alumni and has raised his annual income by an astounding 1,900 percent.

"Before taking the livestreaming class, I was making 4,000 to 5,000 yuan per year," Zhang tells me over a lunch of hand-pulled noodles. "Now, I can make 200,000 yuan each year, with 100,000 yuan in profit."

Frankly, the change is astounding and highlights the benefits of utilizing technology to connect rural farmers and other workers with a broader audience. In the past, Li county farmers were limited to selling their produce to local markets or on the roadside to passing motorists.

Now, utilizing Taobao's livestreaming feature, Pinduoduo, Douyin and other platforms, these workers can promote their crops and connect with customers across the country – raising their incomes while also providing quality products to big-city residents longing for a taste of Li county's oh-so-delicious rural produce.

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