Ding and his cousin became door-to-door salesmen for photo backdrops. The market eventually shifted to photo costumes and then to general performance costumes, which offered a larger consumer base. Around , only Ding and a handful of other households were engaged in any business besides subsistence farming. Su, as the new township party secretary at the time, saw a development opportunity. The roads were too broken to support delivery trucks, so Su took matters into his own hands, residents say: He and his fellow township government officials went out and fixed the roads themselves.
It estimates an additional villages designated as impoverished by provincial poverty standards—based on higher income thresholds—have reached a similar sales marker. Yet Su insists that what is happening in Daiji can be replicated and expanded elsewhere. It is not lost on the Chinese government either. If we still have many people under the poverty line in , it will affect the quality of a moderately prosperous society. Our people and international society will doubt us. Provinces added another 40 billion yuan in funding. The added emphasis on poverty elimination follows a nationwide poverty identification campaign in that deployed thousands of cadres to identify all impoverished households based on income levels, and to subsequently target funds directly to those households through projects approved by higher levels of government.
In its five-year plan for poverty alleviation released in December, the State Council, or the cabinet, called for fiscal, financial, land, and personnel policies to contribute to targeting the , poverty villages listed in the national poverty identification directory. The central government has signed agreements with both Alibaba and Jingdong , another major platform, to spur e-commerce development in the name of poverty alleviation.
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Much of the remaining poverty in China exists in places where economic growth cannot easily reach, such as mountainous areas, as well as the remote central and western regions. Of the more than 1, Taobao villages in China, only 25 are located in these areas, according to Alibaba. Some areas have found ways to create distribution and logistics networks despite the difficult climate, but most still face large obstacles that even high-level support has not yet managed to overcome.
It also takes concerted effort and extraordinary dedication from government officials to transform villages starting from nothing into national production centers. The last time China experienced a rural industrial boom, collectively owned township and village enterprises TVEs leveraged plentiful labor, local government support, and a very low bar for consumer demand to rake in huge profits and create millions of rural jobs during the s and early s.
It added to efforts already underway: Since the Taobao boom began, local officials say that more than 5, migrant workers previously staying in cities, including hundreds of college graduates, have returned to run businesses in Daiji. Yu Wai Vic Li.
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