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Digital tech empowers common prosperity in rural areas

Workers process tea leaves at a workshop in Jingning She autonomous county in Lishui, east China’s Zhejiang province on Mar 23, 2021. (LI SUREN / XINHUA)

HANGZHOU – The boom in digital technology is driving China’s endeavor to better integrate it into the production and life of people in rural areas, as part of efforts to achieve common prosperity.

At the 11th Smart City and Intelligent Economy Expo, advanced techniques, products and achievements in the field of digital reform were showcased. The expo in Ningbo, a coastal city in east China’s Zhejiang province, ended Sunday.

Zhejiang province, which has been named a demonstration zone for promoting common prosperity, highlights promoting rural vitalization with digital reform.

E-commerce has injected impetus into rural industries in Zhejiang, playing a vital role in improving people’s livelihood and eliminating poverty.

Huang Jiefei, owner of a tea enterprise in Songyang county of Lishui city, saw revenue from online sales reach 160 million yuan (about 25 million US dollars) last year after he started cooperation with e-commerce platforms like Pinduoduo, opening sales channels for over 1,000 local tea farmers.

“We have built industrial parks to support e-commerce empower local tea industries,” said He Huodi, a local agricultural bureau employee, adding that the county now has about 1,500 online tea stores, providing jobs for over 7,000 people.

The province has also used digital technology to initiate rural residents into cultural and public service, which echoes the definition of common prosperity — affluence shared by everyone in material and cultural terms

The province has also used digital technology to initiate rural residents into cultural and public service, which echoes the definition of common prosperity — affluence shared by everyone in material and cultural terms.

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In the culture auditorium of Houcang village in Ningbo city, people can read books, learn dialects and acquire knowledge about traditional culture with the help of digital resources.

By the end of 2020, Zhejiang province had over 17,000 such auditoriums, covering 91.3 percent of villages, which also act as hubs of digital public services.

In Baoshanqiao village of Shaoxing city, people who don’t know how to seek appointment with doctors online can get help at the culture auditorium, which effectively facilitates high-quality medical resource distribution.

All this epitomizes Zhejiang’s actions to bring benefits to more people in rural areas through digital innovation, creating experiences which can be replicated and promoted over a wider range across the country.

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“Practice has proved that promoting construction of digital villages is an important means to realize rural vitalization on all fronts and accelerate common prosperity,” said Chen Yong, an official with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs.

To further narrow the urban-rural digital gap, China will reinforce the overall design of “digital villages,” beef up relevant projects and innovation centers, increase experience sharing, as well as strengthen evaluation systems, Chen said. 

Reference