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Farmers, main force of China's great market potential
Updated: 2004-02-29 10:36

Walking into the living room of Wu Renbiao's three-story house, one may be astonished by the expensive mahogany furniture, the Samsung Projection TV and the Kenwood hi-fi.

It is hard to imagine that all the high-grade commodities are purchased by a farmer.

"Furniture and electronic appliances in my house cost me a total of nearly 600,000 yuan (72,289 US dollars), and most are new varieties exported from overseas," said Wu.

Wu's family is not the only one enjoying such a purchase power in Huaxi village, Wuxi city, East China's Jiangsu province.

As the first group of farmers becoming rich in China, villager sin Huaxi see the dramatic change of their consumption concept with the enhancement of their purchasing power.

Villagers use high grade building materials to construct pretty villas, modern factories, imposing stores and hotels.

Wu Renbao, a retired village head who had led the Huaxi villagers to become wealthy, said, "Now our village boasts more than 500 cars, including over 20 Benz,"

"Every year, over 300 villagers will be organized by our village to go on tour to other countries. In 2002, despite being in my seventies, I have gone to Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand," said the former head.

Over ten children in our village are studying in foreign countries like the United States, Britain, the ROK, Japan and Singapore, Wu said.

In the Yangtze River delta, there are many villages like Huaxi Village, which have been turned into modern towns.

Farmers taking farming as their only means of living cover a very small part in Jiangsu, said Song Linfei, director of the Jiangsu Academy of Social Sciences who has been engaged in the research in rural economy.

Song said in Wuxi city, among 2.6 million farmers, only 400,000 are living on farm work.

"Most of them make a living in cities as private owners and self-employed households. It is the migrant workers who have introduced urban consumption concept to the rural areas," said Song.

In Guanhu town in Jiangsu, a supermarket that opened in 2002 has become a shopping resort for residents in the town.

"I can purchase not only groceries but also electronic appliances of high grade, all of good quality," said Lin Ning, a farmer often shopping here.

Supermarkets could only be seen in cities in the past and now they are mushrooming China's rural areas.

According to statistics, among 2,500 chain supermarkets opened in the last five years in Jiangsu province, 70 percent are opened in the rural area.

"It's a reflection of the sustained increase of farmers' income in Jiangsu, which greatly stimulate their purchasing power," noting that China's 900 million farmers are the main force of the great market potential of China in the future.

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