On 25 May 2022, Mr. Guo Chuanwei, Director of the Trade and Investment Division (TID) of the ASEAN-China Centre (ACC), attended the webinar of “Digitalizing Rural Areas, Cases from the PRC”.
The webinar, co-hosted by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Center for International Knowledge on Development (CIKD), held discussions to promote the “Shaji Model” by which e-commerce facilitated the development of the Suining County, Jiangsu Province. Ms. Yolanda Fernandez Lommen, Country Director of ADB Resident Mission in the PRC, Mr. Zhao Changwen, President of CIKD, and Mr. Chen Liang, Secretary of the Party Working Committee of Shaji E-Commerce Transformation Demonstration Zone in Suining County, Jiangsu Province, attended and addressed the webinar.
Yolanda Fernandez Lommen said that about 44% of the world’s population lives in rural areas, and extreme poverty tends to affect rural population more than urban population. China has achieved remarkable results in lifting over 800 million people out of poverty. ADB is committed to promoting inclusive and sustainable development in the Asian-Pacific area, and eradicating extreme poverty in the region. In view of China's outstanding achievement in poverty reduction in rural areas, ADB aims to conduct research and advance exchanges on development theories and practices through this event, and promote China’s experience in poverty reduction to other countries. The webinar has invited practitioners from China who have introduced and implemented information and communication technologies to revitalize rural areas, to share their experience in helping the rural population achieve sustained income and improve their well-being through digitalization.
Zhao Changwen mentioned that the digitalization of the rural economy is the key to poverty reduction. From 2016 to 2020, China’s rural online retail sales increased from CNY350 billion to CNY1.8 trillion, with an average annual growth rate of 39%. The Digital Rural Development Action Plan (2022-2025) was released in January 2022, which aims to expedite digital rural development by focusing on key sectors including smart agriculture, rural e-commerce brand building, rural digital governance system, and easy access to 4G and 5G.
Chen Liang introduced the important role of e-commerce in poverty reduction in Suining County, and the experience in developing e-commerce in rural areas. The “Shaji Model” transforms the agriculture-engaged households into online business owners, and provides them direct access to the market. The model promotes manufacturing and its supporting industries with upgraded market elements, and creates a diversified new business ecosystem with enterprises at its core. The “Shaji Model” gives full play to Suining’s advantages in location, e-commerce, logistics, production and processing, and reduces poverty in rural areas by promoting the development of diversified sectors including household supplies, accessories and agricultural products.
The webinar is the first of a series of events under the theme of “Digitalizing Rural Areas, Cases from the PRC”. More than 60 participants from government departments and academic communities of ADB’s members joined the event.