E-Commerce Expands in China Rural Areas and Continues to Climb


rural chine

It seems that rural China, whose citizens are often seen as less affluent, is seeing an increase in e-commerce, as more and more citizens are utilizing their mobiles and the Internet to buy and sell goods that are available online. For the past year or so, e-commerce seemed to be devoted to the more wealthy citizens of China, with luxury goods often being purchased online. However, China Internet Network Information Center stated that in 2014, the number of rural online shoppers was 77.14 million, a growth of 40.6% since the previous year.

Why More Rural Shoppers?

The main question that many are wondering is why more rural shoppers are heading online to purchase goods. The main reason for the increase in rural shoppers seems to be that smartphones are getting more affordable. Those who could not previously afford a smartphone are able to do so now with ease.

Secondly, those shoppers who live in rural areas are limited by the physical stores that are near them. Often times, these shoppers have one or two shops that are geared more towards their basic needs, and they seldom have numerous options. Through e-commerce, rural shoppers are getting numerous options for their buying needs and wants.

E-Commerce Giants Jump into Rural Market

Due to the demand rising in these rural areas, e-commerce giants are looking for ways to provide these customers with what they may need or want. Alibaba has partnered with China Telecom to expand the number of citizens who can access Chinese Internet.

Alibaba views these smaller areas as the key to growth

Aside from Alibaba, JD.com set up an operating center in Guangdong Province as a way to help farmers purchase products they may need or want via the e-commerce platform.  They have also opened a physical store in the Hebei Province.

Read more of how Alibaba is reaching out to the rural consumer market here

Gaining Foothold into the Rural Communities

As with any online customer, those who are located in rural areas are looking for deals on the products they need or want. They are also going to turn to the online shopping platform that is going to offer the product in the fastest amount of time, has the lowest price, and is a quality product.

The key for new companies entering into the e-commerce market directed towards these rural communities is to ensure they are giving high quality product options, and that shipping will be fast. Rural customers do not want to wait for weeks to get a product due to where they reside in China. Hence the reason so many companies are turning to express delivery options, like Alibaba who is set to build 100,000 village level express delivery stations. You can read more about this move by Alibaba here.


About Author

Social Brand Watch (SBW) is a collection of experts in digital, mobile and social media in China. SBW was created to complement Resonance's China Social Branding Report, a bi-weekly report focusing on modern marketing methods of the world's top brands in China.

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