China looking to expand rural e-commerce economy

China looking to expand rural e-commerce economy

China’s Ministry of Commerce is looking to encourage more e-commerce and logistics companies to expand their activities into rural areas. Officials believe that more integrated telecommunications, transportation and postal services will help to stimulate the rural economy, generating more jobs and giving rural residents more convenient access to goods and services.

Kong Lingyu, deputy director-general of the department of market system development, said: “Building information sharing, financing and credit systems will be priorities to facilitate the development of e-commerce in rural areas, along with cheaper mobile Internet and logistics services.”

There has already been significant growth in the goods-delivery network for China’s rural population – but the Ministry wants to see even more development.

According to State Post Bureau statistics, total shipments to rural areas reached 2 billion parcels in 2014, up 13% on a year-on-year basis.

Express delivery companies such as SF Express and YTO Express have set up thousands of depots in rural areas, which now provide coverage for almost 60% of the nation’s villages and towns – but that still leaves a significant proportion of the rural community waiting for the full benefits of the e-commerce economy.

However, news agency China News reports that e-commerce giants Alibaba, and Suning are investing heavily in setting up service depots over the next few years.

Sun Weimin, vice-president of the Nanjing-based Suning, was quoted by China News as saying that the company plans to open between 1,500 and 2,000 service stations every year in the country’s lower-tier cities and rural markets over the next five years.

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