China is becoming the world leader of e-commerce, this is a tremendous change in the distribution channels. This is a fantastic opportunity in unexpected places in the country : the villages in remote areas. Yes, they are involved in e-commerce as well and they are actually on the front line.
Some craftsmen in the villages are making fortunes through e-commerce. An extraordinary clash of worlds. Some rural areas seem to have remained unchanged for centururies or at least for decades. And the booming Chinese e-economy.
What are Chinese people buying in these vallages ? Crafts. Thing that are hand made, not industrial. Chinese consuers are beginning to be wary of the things they can find in shops and are willing to go back to nature, to authenticity. Theye are buying furniture, crafts, tablesets, household supplies, things made of straw.
These places have a name : the « Taobao villages », because Taobao is the name of the e-commerce platform in China : Taobao. A success story of Chinese economy, Taobao has tremendous success and many western counterparts look like dwarfs in comparison. The platform is monitored by the Chinese giant company Alibaba and has a network all over China. Some villages have entered the betworks and some of them have hundreds of Taobao suppliers.
It is a great opporunity for the farmers whose life is sometimes very harsh. Some villages have had a tradition of crafts for centuries and this is quite an unexpected renewal.
Some success stories are impressive with farmers opening workshops to answer the growing demand for their products. Some workshops even tend to look like factories… This has developed a kind of capitalistic cooperation between families because the orders from the Chinese city wellers are huge, they have to answer the demand.
Eventually this becomes a success in the villages themselves with physical shops opening. Some of the shops can be 1000 square meters large. More and more customers are coming. The biggest success stories are those of villagers that began early, often because they had some links with large cities and understood better that there was a potential market. Many others joined later.
In those villages, you have every household with an online shop. Every little house there sells items all over China. This is the effect of technology on rural China.
This develops the economy with a whole economy bult on this : transport companies are blooming and the Chinese economy become more integrated. This is contemporary China.