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Poverty-stricken county benefits from online sales

By Liu Mingtai and Dong Jidong ( China Daily )

Tongyu county in northwestern Jilin province has forged its own successful e-commerce path.

There are currently 420 online stores based in the county, including more than 200 on Taobao.com.

There are also more than 500 Tongyu county businesspeople doing business through WeChat, a popular mobile social media platform in China, and about 1,200 people from the county are employed in e-commerce-related industries.

In November last year, the county government signed an agreement with Internet giant Alibaba Group, making it it the third county in China to be included into the corporation's rural e-commerce program, following Tonglu in Zhejiang province and Yangshan in Guangdong province.

The deal has thus far been a boon to residents in the poverty-stricken county. Tongyu has more than 100,000 impoverished residents, and its poverty rate stands at 41.5 percent, according to the county government.

Beginning this year, the county plans to lift 25,000 people out of poverty through relief programs that feature training in the e-commerce industry. The measures are expected to cover all 90 impoverished villages in the county by 2020, and more than 60 percent of the population with economic difficulties will be able to find employment in the e-commerce industry.

In October 2013, the county government established an e-commerce center for agricultural products and launched a flagship store on Tmall.com, an e-commerce platform owned by Alibaba Group.

In less than two months, the store sold more than 100,000 kilograms of Tongyu's specialty products, including grains, soybeans, millet, nuts and black fungus, and generated revenue of more than 1.9 million yuan ($306,000).

The online store has procurement agreements with rural farm cooperatives and sells the products under the unified brand called Sanqianhe.

By the end of March, more than 30 kinds of products under the brand were sold to consumers in 23 provincial regions to produce more than 40 million yuan in revenue.

Contact the writers at liumingtai@chinadaily.com.cn and dongjidong@chinadaily.com.cn