Internet plays a role in China’s poverty alleviation

By Gu Yekai, People’s Daily
The rapid development of the Internet in China has not only unleashed huge digital dividends, but also opened up a fast track for poverty alleviation.
Gaibao village in Liping county, southwest China’s Guizhou province is a beneficiary of the Internet. After videos of its picturesque natural landscape and distinctive folk culture went viral on short-video platforms, the village started to cash in on a tourism boom as a rising tide of visitors flooded in.
The advantages of the Internet lie in unbounded information, inclusiveness and sharing. Even poor rural areas can be closely connected with the Internet.
A network cable and a signal tower could connect agricultural products deep in the mountains to dining tables in the city, and enable urban residents to receive more stories about rural life.
Yinan county, located in the hinterland of the Yimeng mountains in east China’s Shandong Province, had difficulty in selling agricultural products to the outside world because it is landlocked and had insufficient access to relevant information.
In a new round of targeted poverty alleviation, Yinan adopted e-commerce as a poverty alleviation tool, establishing e-commerce service stations in impoverished villages and connecting farmers with manufacturing companies and e-commerce platforms. Under these efforts, the county’s high-quality and distinctive industries have achieved further development.
Thanks to the e-commerce service stations, the price of peaches doubled. “On average, a peach can be sold for 10 yuan,” said a local farmer named Liu Yuanqiang.
In the first half of this year, online retail sales in China’s rural areas reached 777.13 billion yuan, up 21%year-on-year. Online retail sales of agricultural products amounted to 187.36 billion yuan, with a year-on-year increase of 25.3%. In the same period, online retail sales in poverty-stricken counties in China reached 65.98 billion yuan, up 18% year-on-year.
The country’s efforts to reduce poverty through e-commerce are paying off as great potential has been unleashed in rural e-commerce and online retailing grows rapidly.
The Internet also bridges digital divide and ensures equal access to sources of information. Through the Internet, children in poor areas can receive an education of higher quality, and farmers can learn the latest techniques. This is a way to compose internal driving forces for sustained development .
Currently, close to 100 million rural Chinese students in primary and middle schools are covered by a national satellite broadband transmission network for online education.
About 64,000 schools across the country are equipped with digital educational resources, benefiting nearly 4 million students in remote and poor regions who do not have access to proper education due to teacher shortages.
In recent years, the construction of information infrastructure in rural areas in China has picked up pace. In some poor areas, telecom operators have launched exclusive packages at discounted prices. Such measures provide network guarantee for poverty alleviation in these areas.
There is a rule in the Internet age: those having easier access to information can usually get themselves out of poverty faster. It is believed that once every corner of urban and rural areas is connected by the Internet, there will be more and more beneficiaries like Gaibao village.

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