The countryside has experienced enormous changes, of which the biggest ones concern roads and the network. This article focuses on changes in the network.
Ganzhou, Jiangxi Province, where I live now, is a famous revolutionary district in China. Before the reform and opening-up, the only ways for villagers to get informed was newspapers or radio, but only those living in village-level areas had access to newspapers. And due to the poor transportation condition, the “news” was always things that happened four or five days before. As for the radio, the poor signal made it inaccessible in rural areas. Besides, the radio was expensive at the time so that few people could afford it. Because of the information lag, unfulfilled market demands, and the fact that farmers could not produce these things by themselves, economic development has been restricted.
Since the reform and opening-up, the rural areas have been changing at a growing speed and farmers have received more benefits. In addition to the exemption from all agricultural taxes, there are various subsidies for growing grain, including direct grain subsidies, direct comprehensive subsidies for agricultural materials, improved seed subsidies, and agricultural machinery purchase subsidies. All in all, farmers have better life now. Especially since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, rural areas have been "new" everywhere compared to the old days: new houses mushroom, rural roads are stretching into multiple directions, and power grids are built here and there. The most significant change is the widespread popularity of broadband. Till the end of September 2017, the number of broadband access ports in Jiangxi reached 20.35 million, and the number of fixed broadband access users reached 9.31 million. The 4G network has covered all towns and villages here and 99.9% of the administrative villages. In the village, the number of users exceeded 20 million, and the penetration rate of mobile broadband users reached 57.5%.
The popularity of the Internet has made the mobile phone not only a tool for answering calls, but an information collecting device and a large interactive platform, strengthening communications with the outside world. Through WeChat, QQ and other communicational platforms, information like major policies and market demands can be transmitted to every receiver. In case of difficulties, villagers can immediately get help from other users. And thanks to the network, the advanced technology and experience of getting rich can be quickly shared. The popularity of rural broadband networks has changed people's way of living, transmitted new information, brought new changes, and helped farmers get rid of poverty.
As a large agricultural city, Ganzhou is also a typical city in Qiuling mountainous area, which is home to varying agricultural products such as navel orange, citrus, Shatian pomelo, tea, rice and vegetables. In the old days, farmers had to connect clients by themselves, which was time-and money-consuming. Later, the sales channels became wider, and some people even went to the farmers’ to order their products, at a low price. Now, as the broadband is accessible to villagers and "Internet +" continues to develop, most villages are developing their e-commerce businesses, creating boundless markets. Products are priced based on quality, regardless of time and space. With selling moving from the end to the front, farmers do not have to create market by themselves and won’t be “bullied” anymore. Agricultural products can reach every corner as if they have wings.
Rural e-commerce provides a platform for product sales, and also a channel for “purchase”. In the old times, in anticipation of agricultural products such as fertilizers, pesticides and seeds, villagers had to wait for a long time. Yet now manufacturers and farmers can trade directly, enhancing the quality while decreasing the price. Meanwhile, e-commerce also provides convenience for people who are not familiar with online shopping. If they want to buy something, they just need to speak it out, whether it be a small needle or a large electrical appliance. E-commerce has built a bridge for market transactions, rendering remote mountainous villages no longer remote and the rural economy integrate with the social economy.
Rural e-commerce has quickened product sales, promoted agricultural product processing, and expanded the industrial chain. Taking the navel orange in southern Jiangxi as an example, it can be observed that instead of pure fresh fruit selling, an industrial cluster of storage, preservation and processing has been developed, producing fresh orange juice, fruit vinegar, navel orange cake, bigarade cake, navel orange enzyme, skin care products, etc., thus receiving much higher profits than before. Even for fruit selling, with fruits being stored for keeping fresh and extending the sales time, the price is also much higher. Moreover, expansion of the industrial chain has advantageously promoted entrepreneurial employment and opened up a new path for poverty alleviation. In 2016, 37,000 people were self-employed or employed through e-commerce, and more than 6,800 poor households overcame poverty by e-commerce employment.
Rural e-commerce has totally changed the countryside and the business philosophy, making rural areas no longer remote. The continuous development of rural e-commerce has opened up a broader world for poverty alleviation.