China enjoys great market potential in rural areas

May 23rd, 2019

China’s rural areas enjoy great market potential as the country has put more emphasis on the development of rural areas.

Chen Lixian, head of a poverty alleviation service station in Fengqiao village of Lu’an city, east China’s Anhui province, is a beneficiary of e-commerce.

“I can sell about 70,000 yuan worth of local specialty products for villagers in one year,” Chen said as she was uploading information of bean vermicelli, eggs, dried noodles and other products sent by villagers on an e-commerce platform.

Data shows that in the first quarter of this year, online retail sales across China’s rural areas reached 357 billion yuan, up 19.5 percent year on year, 4.2 percentage points higher than the national growth rate.

Short-distance trips to villages for idyllic beauty have become an important option for urban residents during holidays, according to the country’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

During the Labor Day holiday this year, Qianyang village in Dezhou, east China’s Shandong province became a popular destination for visitors from urban areas due to its picturesque scenery and delicious food. For urban people, the colorful slideways, beautiful flowers and sites filled with farm implements are very attractive.

E-commerce and tourism in rural areas have thrived. As China increases policy support to strengthen agriculture, benefit farmers, and enrich rural areas, the pace of urban-rural integration has been accelerated, and consumption potential in rural areas has been further released. The rural market has become an important highlight in expanding domestic demand.

Stable investment in rural areas has been ensured. In the first quarter of this year, the fixed assets investment in the primary industry in China was 240.8 billion yuan, up 3 percent year on year.

To improve rural living environments, the country allocated 7 billion yuan to advance the “toilet revolution” in rural areas this year. It has also spent 3 billion yuan to improve rural living conditions in the central and western regions.

Consumption potential in rural areas has been further released as the market environment continues to improve, and new types of business such as e-commerce thrive in rural areas.

In the first three months of this year, the retail sales of consumer goods in rural areas increased by 9.2 percent year on year, 1.0 percentage point higher than that in the urban market. The retail sales of rural consumer goods accounted for 14.7 percent of the total retail sales of consumer goods, an increase of 0.1 percentage point over the same period of the previous year.

To achieve the first centenary goal on schedule and embark on the journey toward the second centenary goal, the most arduous task lies in rural areas, but the most extensive and profound foundation as well as the greatest potential also lie in rural areas.

For a major developing country like China, domestic demand is still the most important economic driver. The vast rural market with great dynamism and potential is crucial to expanding domestic demand and maintaining stable economic performance.

To unleash the potential, China needs to develop and strengthen rural industries and increase farmers’ income through multiple channels.

Thanks to the integrated development of the primary, secondary, and tertiary industries in rural areas, famers now earn more. In the first quarter of this year, the per capita disposable income of rural residents increased by 6.9 percent, continuing to maintain a medium-high rate of growth.

With the deepening of supply-side structural reform in agriculture, the upgrading of industrial structure and the vigorous development of various new industries and new businesses in rural areas, the country will continue to increase farmers’ income in the foreseeable future, said Zhao Changbao, deputy director of the policy and reform department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs.

The release of potential is inseparable from the continuous improvement in infrastructure and living environments in rural areas.

Huamao village in Zunyi, southwest China’s Guizhou province now has access to stable electricity thanks to the new round of rural power grid upgrading.

Numerous rural roads have been built in villages. By the end of 2018, tarmac and cement roads had been paved in 99.64 percent of towns and townships and 99.47 percent of administrative villages. The internet penetration rate was 38.4 percent in rural areas, with 222 million netizens in 2018.

In rural areas, China has also improved garbage and sewage treatment, ensured access to safe drinking water, improved logistics networks and renovated dilapidated houses. Today, many rural areas have become more beautiful and become backyards of cities.

To unleash the potential, China needs to comprehensively improve public services and enable farmers to feel more satisfied.

China has moved faster to improve conditions in rural schools and enhanced the building of rural teacher teams. The country also worked to ensure that all newly added government subsidies for basic public health service expenditures are used for villages and communities.

In addition, China has increased the minimum basic aged-care pension benefits for rural and non-working urban residents from 70 to 88 yuan per person per month.
With these efforts, the country has eased the burden on hundreds of millions of farmers heading for a moderately prosperous society.

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