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Young returnees bring new possibilities to rural Anhui

China Daily | Updated: 2024-05-27 09:42
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HEFEI — Wang Aiju, a 57-year-old from East China's Anhui province, has a new hobby of frequenting her local village cafe where she enjoys a cup of coffee and takes photos for her granddaughter.

Nestled beside a golden rape flower field, the cafe in Doumu township in the city of Anqing is adorned with dolls on its chairs and twinkling LED lights, providing a picturesque spot for visitors to relax and snap photos. It caters not only to city dwellers seeking relaxing leisure time but also to the locals.

This flourishing spot emerged out of an idea from Hu Rui, a post-95s returnee.

"I returned to my hometown and opened this cafe because I realized that people need a tranquil escape from their daily lives. The combination of coffee and natural beauty brings more choices to rural life," said Hu, adding that since the cafe opened in March, the highest daily sales exceeded 10,000 yuan ($1,408).

In Anhui, an increasing number of young people like Hu are returning to rural areas for employment opportunities, encouraged by the implementation of initiatives by local authorities to attract talent, sparking transformative changes and injecting new vitality into these areas.

According to the provincial department of human resources and social security, Anhui has been leveraging its ecological benefits to improve the employment environment, among other factors, to make the province a magnetic hub for young talent.

In Panpu village of Qianshan city, Zhu Siyi, a post-90s native, works as a resort manager. She is brainstorming with her colleagues about organizing a campfire party on the lawn.

To enrich the travel experience for tourists, Zhu and her team have developed a scenic spot integrating agricultural, cultural and tourism elements, including an indoor amusement park and a camping site.

"During the five-day May Day holiday this year, over 10,000 tourists came here each day," said Zhu, noting that the extended consumption chain has helped boost the income of over 40 rural households, attracting two young baristas to start their own business here.

Apart from applying novel ideas while utilizing natural beauty, many young returnees have embraced short videos and livestreaming as tools to support rural residents.

Capturing everything from conversations with elderly villagers to the rhythmic hum of machines processing dried sweet potatoes, Wu Pinjiao and her post-95s colleagues have documented rural life and local specialties through videos and livestreaming.

"We are not just selling goods, but also popularizing the lifestyle of our hometown," she said, adding that the sales of over 20 kinds of local products from three mountainous villages have set new records this year.

"I initially thought I was coming back to guard a mountain. But when I returned, I realized that there is a new world of unexplored possibilities here," Wu said.


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