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E-commerce training equips farmers with new life skills

GPIG by Ai Yang,September 26, 2017 Adjust font size:

Zu Jiajie lives in Zuyao Village, in the town of Chenwei, Sihong County, Jiangsu Province. A Rural Taobao partner, he has been riding the tide of a thriving business, selling to his nearby villagers a wide variety of goods, from shoes to mosquito coils.

Zu is still quite new to the online-business style. Just one year ago, he knew next to nothing about e-commerce, let alone thought that it could become a key part of his own life. “One day I got asked to go to a training session provided by Taobao, so I was thinking maybe I’ll give it a try. After a few classes I was really hooked and became a Rural Taobao partner. I didn’t know business was going to be this great,” Zu said.

From farmer to e-commerce merchant

There are many people like Zu Jiajie in Sihong County. The local government pays for farmers’ e-commerce training and helps them become Rural Taobao partners.

A traditional, large agricultural county, Sihong sees more than 200,000 of its farmers leave home every year to find work elsewhere. However, as many of them come to learn, there is not much money to be made further away from home. In 2012, Sihong started looking into the suitability of its land for commercial development. Now with more than 60% of the county’s land under management and 8,200 business entities established, another 100,000 farmers are left without any land to farm.

How exactly to find its residents another source of stable income other than the profit earned from renting their land became an urgent task for Sihong.

After carrying out research on possible solutions, the county decided to introduce the farmers to e-commerce.

E-commerce businesses are not only generally easier to launch than traditional businesses, but they also require relatively less investment and produce faster returns. Nevertheless, the concept of running a business online is still a rather strange one to the villagers. In order to quickly acclimate them to the new business type, the county organized training classes teaching them how to use the Internet.

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