eCommerce in China’s less-wealthy rural regions is among the priority list of Alibaba Group, as the group has increased the number of rural service centers to eight times in past one year of time.
Alibaba’s rural service centers in some 16,000 villages in 29 provinces, up from 1803 centers nearly 11 months ago are operated by independent local entrepreneurs to spread eCommerce and online financial services beyond China’s big, relatively wealthy cities.
These centers are helping them buy and sell through Alibaba’s online marketplaces by providing internet access and training to consumers and businesses.
In January, Alibaba Group CEO Daniel Zhang said a 2016 strategic priority is to ramp up the efforts to bring quality goods to rural buyers for connecting the rural market to the whole country and even the whole world.
Alibaba has announced the launch of a new rural initiative called Smart County through which Alibaba Cloud (Alibaba’s cloud computing arm), and Ant Financial will provide technical support to local governments as well as access to public services through Ant’s Alipay super app which is being tested in small cities.