The Belt and Road News Network

Information superhighway brings benefits to villagers in China’s countryside

   People's Daily Online   14:55, October 25, 2021

Rural areas in China have seen constant improvements to Internet infrastructure in recent years, which has brought considerable benefits to local residents.

Two women sells local tea in a live-streaming session in Ning'er Hani and Yi autonomous county in Yunnan province on April 6, 2020. (Photo/Xinhua)

The number of Internet users in the country’s rural areas reached 297 million as of June this year, with the Internet access rate reaching 59.2 percent, statistics showed. More than 99 percent of China’s administrative villages have been connected with fiber optic and 4G networks, while rural areas throughout the country have gained access to the same network and Internet connection speeds as urban areas.

Wang Jinguo, a store owner in Xulou village, Liangshan county, east China’s Shandong province, is excited about the convenience and benefits brought about by the expanded Internet network.

“Our village has been covered by 100MB broadband. It’s very fast,” Wang said, adding that the village has built base stations, covering all households with fiber optic and mobile networks.

Due to the improvements to the village’s Internet infrastructure, more and more villagers are turning to online shopping. To meet the rising demand, the village began to establish stations for express delivery service last year.

In response to the call of the village committee, Wang turned part of his store into a station for express delivery services, which not only brings added convenience to villagers, but has also boosted sales of products in his store, as residents often buy something when they send or receive packages at the store.

“I receive over 200 packages every day, all online orders placed by villagers,” Wang said, noting that he also helps villagers to purchase electric appliances and farming materials in addition to paying utility bills online.

Xulou village is an epitome of Liangshan county’s efforts to improve Internet infrastructure in rural areas. To date, the county has basically completed a project to bring information technologies to all administrative villages and rural households, enabling rural residents to enjoy public services and e-commerce services, among other services made available in the villages.

“In line with the requirements for rural revitalization, Liangshan is building ‘digital villages’ through the application of new information technologies, such as big data and the Internet of Things, to continuously deliver benefits to villagers,” said Shen Zhengguo, head of the county’s agriculture and rural affairs bureau.

Information technologies have also made rural governance more precise and intelligent, bolstering the vitality of rural development, said Huang Jinyong, a professor from the School of Agricultural Sciences at Zhengzhou University in Zhengzhou, capital city of central China’s Henan province.

Meanwhile, the Internet has become an essential infrastructure for the development of modern agriculture, enabling distinctive agricultural products from rural areas to reach more places in the country.

Wei Shaozhen, a resident in Banjing village in a remote mountainous area in Anyuan county, east China’s Jiangxi province, is one of the many who has turned into a livestreaming host. She helps villagers sell local specialties, including sweet potatoes and navel oranges, to people across the country via the livestream marketing, in this way increasing their incomes. In a recent livestreaming session, Wei sold over 500 kilograms of sweet potatoes, a local specialty.

Anyuan county has supported the digital transformation of the navel orange industry and the development of the e-commerce sector.

The county has set up a navel orange data center, which guides over 1,500 growers, nearly 200 logistics enterprises and more than 120 wholesale markets for agricultural products to coordinate their production and sales of fruit, according to Gao Weidong, a local official. Gao explained that the county has also built an e-commerce industrial park and a logistics park in addition to rolling out about 70 e-commerce training sessions to cultivate more farmers adept at using the Internet, livestreaming and e-marketing.

Furthermore, the Internet has accelerated the process of achieving equitable access to public services in urban and rural areas, Huang Jinyong said, adding that more and more public services, such as high-quality medical and educational resources, have become available in rural areas.

For example, in Lushi county, Sanmenxia city of Henan province, a smart medical system now covers all 320 village clinics, 20 township health centers and four county-level hospitals. These medical institutions have established a healthcare alliance with Sanmenxia Center Hospital, which provides telemedicine services to rural residents, according to Duan Huaicheng, director of the county’s health commission.