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How can surrounding villages boost economic growth?


05-27-2016 10:20 BJT

Hangzhou is not only known for its beautiful scenery and hospitality, but also as a hub for China’s booming e-commerce sector. Hangzhou's surrounding villages are also benefiting from this growing industry. 

There's an old saying in Mandarin Chinese: The skies have heaven, the earth has Suzhou and Hangzhou. And the best place to find heavenly scenery is in the rural areas surrounding Hangzhou. The landscape becomes more beautiful in the drizzling rain. 

Old villages are gaining new life, as more tourists come to appreciate their beauty. Tourism is booming fast in Hangzhou. The city received over 27 million tourists in the first three months of 2016 alone.

Besides the traditional tourism attractions, villages like this one are becoming increasingly popular. In Tonglu county, just a one hour ride from downtown Hangzhou, yearly tourism revenue grew by 45% in 2015. Over 6.6 million people visited the region last year. More tourists means greater business opportunities. And that is not only limited to villagers turning their houses into hostels.

The cafe's owner, Shentu Fang, was born in this village and left home early. She considers herself a city girl. But she decided to come back. Her business, like many others, benefits greatly from tourism.

E-commerce has also started taking a foothold in the villages.

Taobao, a business sector of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, hopes to expand into the outlying villages. Their ambitious goal is to open service stations like this in 100,000 villages across China in the next 3 to 5 years.

Alibaba opened the country's first e-station in Tonglu County, where villagers can pick up the goods they purchase online and also learn to open up their own online stores.

Taobao has already opened 183 village stations Tonglu county. The rural e-commerce system will create even greater growth prospects for this little bit of heaven on earth.

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