Ying LOWREY, 刘鹰, Professor of Economics, Tsinghua University; Deputy Director of Tsinghua Research Center for Chinese Entrepreneurs.
China’s e-commerce market had revenue of 2.79 trillion RMB yuan in 2014 and, even with the economic slowdown and the recent stock market collapse, e-commerce sales experienced a 37.7 percent growth in the first seven months of this year. After the Sep. 19th, 2014 listed on the New York Security Exchange, Alibaba has set up three strategies for its longterm growth: Big Data, Cross-Boarder Trading, and Rural E-commerce development. In particular, its rural initiative has created enormous spillover effect across China. The plan is to invest 10 billion RMB yuan in logistics, hardware, and training to expand its e-commerce model into 100,000 rural villages in the next five years. Key of this strategy is the creation of the Taobao Rural Service Centers: villagers can buy – and in the future sell – products online, paying through mobile phone apps, and picking up the items at local convenience stores.
E-commerce can shape a different future for China’s rural areas: college graduates have been returning home to set up online businesses, boosting household consumption and making enormous contributions in disseminating new technologies. In addition, Alibaba’s rural initiative will have great international implications, especially in the developing world.
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