China’s e-commerce and Chinese rural areas: the Taobao villages

A fascinating change is occuring in the Chinese economy and distribution channels. Farmers are seizing the opportunity of developement and use the Taobao platform to sell products.


Some rural people are making real fortunes by using e-commerce, which is an extraordinary juxtaposition of two worlds: the Chinese rural world that has not evolved much for years and the latest Chinese e-economy. Some farmers are selling crafts via the web and one example is given of a success story of a craftsman that sells over two million yuan a year, in the Wantou village of Shandong province.


This is the consequence of another phenomenon, the urge of city dwellers to have pure, natural crafts, something not industrial. The Chinese consumers are becoming tired of standardized products in plastic. This crafstman sells hadowen household supplies, tea tables, tables sets made of straw.


This phenomenon even has a name in China: the “Taobao Villages”. Some remote village in te Hebei region are called the Taobao villages, with some of them owning more than 500 Taobao suupliers. Taobao is the leading Chinese e-commerce platform, with a tremendous success in online shopping, managed by the gigantic Chinese company Alibaba, the leader of this new market structure in China that can be seen in every market segment.


This is a bonanza for the farmers that can work from home, in some villages that have had a tradition of handicrafs for centuries.


The success is so huge that some farmers had to develop their workshops and open real little factories, sometimes a cooperation between several families, because the orders that came from all over the country were too important to keep the basic structure.


Some of the villagers have opened physical stores because he success drawn people from the neighbouring cities to visit the village and buy the crafts where they are produced, some stores are even 1.000 square meters large. The success is impressive and moe and more customers are rushing to the place. Some have taken a better advantage of this new market since they were pionneers. Actually, many villagers at first did’n t belive the e-commerce was a real opportunity to sell their production and joined the trend later on, when success was before their eyes. The advantaged villagers were often the ones that has some kind of liks with the large cities and understood better the need of new Chinese consumers and the importance of Taobao for people buying from their apartments in Beijing.


Now, in these Taobao villages, almost every household actually has an onine shop running and the efficiency of the Taobao distribution channel allows them to sell their crafts all over China. The markets prospects are great for these shops that without this technilogical revolution could never have dreamt of such a potential market.


A brand new distribution network has developed together with these selling platforms, a lot of small delivery companies working together with Taobao have settle themselves in the village, leading to a brand new economic situation. This is the contemporary China, with different worlds living together with sometimes amazing successes.


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