Internet sales give welcome boost to local fortunes
For Yu Jiwan, Party secretary of the Cangtian village in Cixi, Zhejiang province, the booming Taobao businesses in the village have introduced positive changes, providing a seamless connection between the production, marketing and sales of the sanitary ware produced in the village.
The village, which has a population of 4,600 and is home to more than 300 makers of sanitary ware, launched a service platform as early as 2017 to provide storage, product supply, e-commerce training and logistics services for Taobao store operators in the village, making it the first Taobao village in Cixi.
Taobao villages are rural e-commerce hubs that feature Alibaba's logistics, services and training to encourage farmers to engage in online sales of farm produce and local specialties.
To be nominated as a Taobao village, Alibaba requires total annual e-commerce transactions of more than 10 million yuan and more than 100 online stores located in each village.
The move is regarded as part of the company's campaign to contribute to the country's ongoing poverty relief efforts.
In 2018, the village registered an online sales volume of more than 100 million yuan ($14 million), ranking first in Cixi.
"For the next step, we are attempting to sell our products abroad through cross-border e-commerce platforms such as Alibaba and Amazon," said Yu.
Statistics show that by the end of June, Cixi was home to more than 14,500 e-commerce retail stores, employing over 149,000 employees, accounting for about 14 percent of the city's overall population.
The booming e-commerce platforms such as Taobao and JD have also given rise to thriving sales in both the production and marketing of fruit in Cixi, such as grapes and red bayberries, with online sales of red bayberries accounting for more than 25 percent of the incomes of local bayberries growers.
"For fruits such as red bayberries, each sales and marketing year is rather short, about 20 days. It is only through online sales that fruit farmers can boost their sales and gain larger profit margins," said Qi Difeng, a farmer and fruit grower in Cixi.
In June, when red bayberries are ripe and taste the sweetest, more than 400,000 orders were made, with a combined sales volume of over 100 million yuan, statistics from the agro-product e-commerce association in Cixi show.
Zhejiang province, which is home to e-commerce giant Alibaba, has 1,573 Taobao villages, ranking first in the nation.