Unimpeded logistics supports e-commerce development in China’s rural areas

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By Luo Aihua, Yuan Taoxiong, People’s Daily
Thanks to efforts to smoothen the “last miles” of logistics services in China’s rural
areas, villagers can now buy and sell products through e-commerce platforms more
easily.
In the past, villagers had to go to towns to pick up and send parcels. With the
establishment of logistics centers, now they could prepare for orders placed by buyers
after receiving them and then send the products via the convenient logistics system at
any time.
E-commerce platform has emerged as an important channel to alleviate the impact of
the COVID-19 epidemic on agricultural produce in China. Recently, quite a lot of
government officials took to livestreaming to promote local specialties.
“Ripe papaya has a natural fragrance and sweet taste just like that in the pleasant
smell of fresh grass and trees after rain.” “The ones with big belly taste the best.”
Head of Hekou Yao autonomous county, southwest China’s Yunnan province
introduced local papayas during a livestreaming show.
The show attracted more than 650,000 viewers within half an hour and helped sell out
80 tons of papayas.
The Chinese officials have achieved remarkable results in livestreaming shows. Head
of Dangshan county in east China’s Anhui province sold 70,000 kilograms of pears
via livestreaming, while deputy head of Leye county in south China’s Guangxi
Zhuang autonomous region sold 20,000 kilograms of citrus fruits within two hours
during a livestreaming show.
According to statistics, Chinese mayors and heads of county have sold more than 4
million kilograms of agricultural produce within one month via the livestreaming
platform of China’s Pinduoduo, an online e-commerce platform famous for offering
group buying deals with big discounts.
While e-commerce is helpful in promoting sales of agricultural produce, it has not
worked effectively for every household in the country’s rural areas from the start.
Although it seems simple to promote and sell local products via livestreaming show,
online transactions would have been impossible and delivery of products laborious
without improved transportation, logistics and information services.
Logistics services in many rural areas often involve huge bulk, great weight, low unit
price, small number of orders, low frequency, and scattered locations for collection
and distribution of parcels, which caused many courier companies to only set up
logistics centers in town-level areas rather than villages to save cost.
To solve problems with the “last miles” of logistics network, China’s State Post
Bureau issued a three-year action plan, specifying that basically all China’s

administrative villages are expected to enjoy delivery services by 2022.
The action plan has led to the establishment of an increasing number of e-commerce
service centers and express delivery outlets in villages nationwide.
Last year, an e-commerce service station was established in Jinmi village, Zhashui
county, northwest China’s Shaanxi province. Now, the village has both an e-
commerce service station and a livestreaming room to promote sales of agricultural
products.
At present, all of the townships in Zhashui county have e-commerce service centers
and all the villages and townships across the county are basically covered by a
logistics service system with a county-level distribution center.
Not long ago, an independently developed smart logistics track network was put into a
trial run in Huazhou city, Maoming, south China’s Guangdong province.
The track, which took six years to develop, mainly serves the needs for transshipment
of local express services, poverty alleviation industrial bases, and delivery of goods.
Consisting of base stations, lower cableways, shuttle robots, and a storehouse, and a
distribution system, the smart logistics track can help deliver goods to destinations
within an hour.
After farmers sending a parcel from a village base station, a shuttle robot, which is
powered by lithium batteries, automatically takes the parcel along the lower cableway
to a town-level base station at low cost. Parcels of online orders sent from across the
country can be delivered to villagers in the same way.
Such smart and lightweight logistics track which features low cost, fast construction,
fewer resources, low volume, and high frequency enjoys certain operating conditions
in rural areas.
Besides, advance technologies such as big data and cloud computing can also help
boost efficiency of the logistics system in these areas, thus ensuring that products sent
from and to villages can be handled on time at low cost.
Smoothening the “last miles” of logistics service for rural areas is an inevitable
requirement for China’s endeavors to free its impoverished population from poverty
and revitalize rural areas.
The country’s targeted policies and measures based on the actual conditions and
situations of various areas, scientific management methods, and overall arrangements
will help guarantee effective running of the logistics service network of rural areas
and eventually enrich lives of people in rural areas.