NDRC, Alibaba join forces to fight against ru­ral poverty

China Daily (Canada) - - LIFE - By MASI masi@chi­nadaily.com.cn

China’s top eco­nomic plan­ner inked an agree­ment with Alibaba Group Hold­ing Ltd on Wed­nes­day to de­velop ru­ral e-com­merce, as part of its broad plan to al­le­vi­ate ru­ral poverty and boost em­ploy­ment as the coun­try’s econ­omy slows down.

Un­der the agree­ment, the Na­tional De­vel­op­ment and Re­form Com­mis­sion and Alibaba will make joint ef­forts to help 300 coun­ties to de­velop ru­ral e-com­merce in the next three years.

The top eco­nomic reg­u­la­tor will help boost co­op­er­a­tion be­tween lo­cal gov­ern­ments and Alibaba on a wide range of projects such as build­ing ru­ral lo­gis­tics in­fra­struc­ture and train­ing lo­cal tal­ents.

Wang Xiao­tao, deputy head of the NDRC, said: “The In­ter­net is per­haps the best tool to help re­mote ru­ral res­i­dents in­crease their in­come and the ini­tia­tive is likely to help coun­ties across China find new growth mod­els.”

Ear­lier, the com­mis­sion, with other nine min­istry-level de­part­ments, an­nounced that they would of­fer pol­icy sup­port to 300 coun­ties in the next three years to en­cour­age mi­grant work­ers, col­lege grad­u­ates and dis­charged sol­diers to re­turn to their ru­ral home­towns and start busi­nesses.

Sun Li­jun, vice-pres­i­dent of Alibaba, said to co­in­cide with the plan, the e-com­merce gi­ant will build about 300 county-level ser­vice sta­tions and 30,000 vil­lage-level ones in th­ese coun­ties to help cul­ti­vate lo­cal tal­ents and gen­er­ate more jobs.

The part­ner­ship came af­ter Alibaba said in 2014 that it would spend at least 10 bil­lion yuan ($1.53 bil­lion) on ex­pand­ing its ru­ral China.

Wang Xiaox­ing, an an­a­lyst at Bei­jing-based In­ter­net con­sul­tancy Analysys In­ter­na­tional, said ru­ral e-com­merce in China is still in in­fancy but is ex­pand­ing rapidly as ur­ban dwellers have a grow­ing de­mand for fresh agri­cul­tural prod­ucts and more ru­ral res­i­dents are


in em­brac­ing e-com­merce.

For in­stance, dur­ing this year’s Ali Spring Fes­ti­val shop­ping event, which was held by Alibaba in Jan­uary, farm­ers in Luochuan, a county in north­west­ern China, sold about 90,000 kilo­grams of ap­ples on­line within five days.

But Wang warned that many ob­sta­cles need to be over­come be­fore ru­ral e-com­merce can thrive.

“The ru­ral mar­ket is def­i­nitely the next big thing in China’s e-com­merce sec­tor, but the boom may not come as quickly as ex­pected given that it will take years to ad­dress the short­age of tal­ent and the lo­gis­ti­cal chal­lenge in vast ru­ral ar­eas.”

Ma Qi­jian, an In­ter­net re­searcher at Pek­ing Univer­sity, said the part­ner­ship be­tween Alibaba and the govern­ment is also aimed at tack­ling ris­ing em­ploy­ment pres­sures by en­cour­ag­ing ru­ral en­trepreneur­ship.

In 2016, a record 7.7 mil­lion stu­dents are ex­pected to grad­u­ate from col­lege, which is set to add pres­sure to em­ploy­ment.

“But start­ing a busi­ness en­tails risks. The fail­ure rate may be higher in ru­ral ar­eas than in cities,” Ma said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.