Rural e-commerce platform
"Twelve families began farming almost 100 hectares of sweet potatoes, kiwi, Camellia oleifera, cattle, pigs, and additional vegetables.
Jianghua Yao Autonomous County features beautiful landscapes, abundant natural resources and vibrant Yao culture. However, the county’s economy is underdeveloped and there is an overreliance on primary industry. In 2014, the poverty rate was 22.4 per cent.
An e-commerce platform was established in order to improve sales of local specialty products. Tourism services and arrangements can also be booked on the platform.
Agricultural and e-commerce training has been provided to local farmers.
The tourism industry is being developed as well. It is based on the scenery, heritage, and ethnic culture that are present in the county.
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Jianghua’s e-commerce solution offers:
- Details about how to build a good e-commerce platform in order to promote featured local products;
- Information about how to provide farmers with support so they can engage in e-business;
- Important lessons about harnessing local strengths and characteristics; and
- Particulars about follow-up plans and what to do next.
2013 – present
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Jianghua Yao Autonomous County in Hunan province suffers from a labor shortage and has historically experienced high levels of poverty. Central South University built an e-commerce platform known as Capital of Yao Select that promotes tourism and enhances market access for speciality products produced in the county. The site contributed to Jianghua’s poverty rate falling from 22.4 per cent in 2014 to 7 per cent in 2017.
Located in South-Central China, Jianghua Yao Autonomous County has the largest ethnic Yao population of any county in China. Sixty-five per cent of its population is part of the Yao ethnic group, and 35 per cent is Han or part of other groups, whereas the country is about 92 per cent Han overall.
Many of Jianghua’s residents were not born or raised in the county, including a group of people who immigrated to the area from other parts of China as a result of the construction of a major dam. Natives often move to large urban areas for work when they reach adulthood, which has resulted in a labor shortage in the county, especially in rural areas.
Jianghua’s beautiful landscapes, abundant natural resources, and vibrant Yao culture are some of its assets. However, the county’s economy is underdeveloped and there is an overreliance on primary industry.
In 2014, 115,400 people and 112 villages in Jianghua were identified as impoverished; the poverty rate stood at 22.4 per cent.
Jianghua is using the Internet in order to harness the county’s strengths, promote its characteristic products outside its borders, and reduce poverty. Central South University developed an e-commerce platform for the county and has continued to provide help with marketing and other services.
The e-commerce platform that Central South University created is known as the Capital of Yao Select and was tailored to the needs of Jianghua’s citizens. It features eight categories of products, including traditional Yao medicine, oil, fresh fruit, tea and handicrafts. Lodging in hotels and via homestays, agritainment activities, package tours, and other tourism services and arrangements can also be booked on the site. Customers receive discounts for advance booking and making purchases as part of a group. Coupons, bonuses for sharing content and other promotions are available as well.
Cultural tourism routes have also been developed that highlight the area’s rich heritage, local folk customs, scenic areas and historical sites. Games, music, festivals and other aspects of Yao culture are becoming tourist highlights as well, and many souvenirs and other products have been developed based on Yao culture and characteristic Jianghua imagery.
Efforts have been made to attract customers and bolster the reputation of the Capital of Yao Select site. Because the e-commerce platform is new and relatively small, its management team decided to open stores on and participate in promotional activities with established e-commerce websites such as JD.com and Suning.com in order to increase exposure.
Central South University has also developed training programs for Jianghua’s citizens so that they can create their own e-commerce stores. Employees of leading companies have been invited to provide guidance and share their experiences.
This solution can be used by policymakers and organizations that want to reduce poverty via e-commerce, especially when there is an emphasis on agriculture and tourism.
- Capital of Yao Select contributed to approximately 83,400 of Jianghua’s residents lifting themselves out of poverty between 2014 and 2017; the poverty rate decreased from 22.4 per cent to 7 per cent.
- The county’s GDP grew 177 per cent between 2012 to 2017, partially because of the e-commerce platform.
- Jianghua optimized its industrial structure and began using the internet for economic development. Impoverished residents were able to increase their incomes in new ways.
- Central South University has organized offline fairs to display Jianghua’s characteristic products as the Capital of Yao Select becomes more popular around the country.
- Twelve large farming families participated in the e-commerce incubation boot camp and livestock and crop farming boot camp. At the Central South University demonstration base, they began farming almost 100 hectares of sweet potatoes, kiwi, Camellia oleifera, cattle, pigs, and additional vegetables. The training courses led to the creation of more than 450 jobs and 54 franchised merchants, and guidance was provided regarding the development of 35 agricultural products. The projects resulted in 6 million yuan (US$844,800) of revenue as of November 2018.
Lessons Learned/Potential for Replication
Local advantages and characteristics should be fully harnessed whenever possible. Jianghua suffers from a labor shortage, but it does have great natural resources, vibrant Yao culture, and wonderful scenery.
Technology and innovation play an important role. Central South University utilized its academic resources and educational experience in order to develop the e-commerce platform and provide useful training for farmers.
Jianghua's experiences are replicable in other areas. Central South University participated in the fourth “Internet Plus” innovation and entrepreneurship competition in Anhui province and shared what was learned from the Capital of Yao Select project.
The Capital of Yao Select team plans to work with more e-commerce platforms in the future in order to increase the visibility of the products and services that are being sold. Jianghua has also been promoting its story via multimedia, and podcasts and video programs will be released soon. The county will continue to develop its tourism industry and integrate it with its culture and agricultural undertakings as well.
Last update: 27/01/2021