Unimpeded logisticssupports e-commerce development in China’s rural areas

Villagers make a special snack with Chinese dates and walnutsin the e-commerce service center of Beidi village, Jinghe county, northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region. (Photo by KuerbanjiangMamuti/People’s Daily Online)

By Luo Aihua, Yuan Taoxiong, People’s Daily

Thanks to efforts to smoothen the“last miles” of logistics servicesin China’s rural areas, villagers can now buy and sell products through e-commerce platforms more easily.

In the past, villagers had to go to towns to pick up and send parcels. With the establishment of logistics centers, now theycould prepare for orders placed by buyers after receiving them and then send the products via the convenient logistics system at any time.

E-commerce platform has emerged as an important channel to alleviate the impact of the COVID-19 epidemic on agricultural produce in China.Recently, quite a lot ofgovernment officials took to livestreaming to promote local specialties.

Local people pack agricultural products including ginger and organic red rice in the e-commerce service center of Tuling village,Yichun, east China’s Jiangxi province, to meet orders placed by costumers across the country on e-commerce platforms. (Photo by Zhou Liang/People’s Daily Online)

“Ripe papaya has a natural fragrance and sweet taste just like that in the pleasant smell of fresh grass and trees after rain.”“The ones with big belly taste the best.” Head of Hekou Yao autonomous county, southwest China’s Yunnan provinceintroduced local papayasduring a livestreaming show.

The show attracted more than 650,000 viewers within half an hour and helped sell out 80 tons of papayas.

The Chinese officials have achieved remarkable results in livestreaming shows.Head of Dangshancounty in east China’s Anhui province sold 70,000 kilograms of pears via livestreaming, while deputy head of Leye county in south China’s Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region sold 20,000 kilograms of citrus fruitswithin two hours during a livestreaming show.

Logistics service system enables people of Huangling village, Renshou county, Meishan, southwest China’s Sichuan province to receive their parcels in time even though they live more than 50 kilometers away from the central area of the county. (Photo by Yao Yongliang/People’s Daily Online)

According to statistics, Chinese mayors and heads of county have sold more than 4 million kilograms of agricultural produce within one month via the livestreaming platform of China’s Pinduoduo, an online e-commerce platform famous for offering group buying deals with big discounts.

While e-commerce is helpful in promoting sales of agricultural produce, it has not worked effectively for every household in the country’s rural areas from the start.

Although it seems simple to promote and sell local products via livestreaming show, online transactionswould have been impossible and delivery of products laborious without improvedtransportation, logistics and information services.

Logistics services in many rural areas often involve huge bulk, great weight, low unit price, small number of orders, low frequency, and scattered locations for collection and distribution of parcels, which caused many courier companies to only set up logistics centers in town-level areas rather than villages to save cost.

To solve problems with the “last miles” of logistics network, China’s State Post Bureau issued athree-year action plan, specifying that basically all China’s administrative villages are expected to enjoy delivery services by 2022.

The action plan has led to the establishment of an increasing number of e-commerce service centers and express delivery outlets in villages nationwide.

Last year, an e-commerce service station was established in Jinmi village, Zhashui county,northwest China’s Shaanxi province. Now, the village has both an e-commerce service station and a livestreaming room to promote sales of agricultural products.

At present, all of the townships in Zhashuicounty have e-commerce service centers and all the villages and townships across the county are basically covered by a logistics service system with a county-level distribution center.

Not long ago, an independently developed smart logistics tracknetwork was put into a trial run in Huazhou city, Maoming, south China’s Guangdong province.

The track, which took six years to develop, mainly servesthe needs for transshipment of local express services, poverty alleviation industrial bases, and delivery of goods.

Consisting of base stations, lower cableways, shuttle robots, and a storehouse, and a distribution system, the smart logistics track can help deliver goods to destinations within an hour.

After farmers sending a parcel from a village base station, a shuttle robot, which is powered by lithium batteries, automatically takes the parcel along the lower cableway to a town-level base station at low cost.Parcels of online orders sent from across the country can be delivered to villagers in the same way.

Such smart and lightweight logistics track which features low cost, fast construction, fewer resources, low volume, and high frequency enjoys certain operating conditions in rural areas.

Besides, advance technologies such as big data and cloud computing can also help boost efficiency of the logistics system in these areas, thus ensuring that products sent from and to villages can be handled on time at low cost.

Smoothening the “last miles” of logistics service for rural areas is an inevitable requirement for China’s endeavors to free its impoverished population from poverty and revitalize rural areas.

The country’s targeted policies and measures based on the actual conditions and situations of various areas, scientific management methods, and overall arrangements will help guarantee effective running of the logistics service network of rural areas andeventually enrich lives of people in rural areas.