E-Commerce Lets Chinese Village Thrive

By Chen Nan
China Daily, Beijing / Asia News Network

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) This article takes a look at people in a small village in China who have been planting willow trees and weaving willow straw into various products for generations. Only now, thanks to e-commerce platforms like Alibaba, many are now selling their products online at a MUCH faster pace for some serious money.

China Daily, Beijing / Asia News Network

As the temperature rises to 35 C in the early afternoon, Liu Yuesheng places another finished pet basket on the pile in his home, which is almost touching the ceiling. And despite sweat streaming down his face, he is working on weaving a willow cushion.

Born and raised in a small village called Xuezhuang, located in Tancheng county, 90 kilometres from Linyi city, in southern Shandong province, Liu, 48, has been weaving willow since young.

He says that the people of the village have been planting willow trees and weaving willow straw into various products-from furniture to decorations-for generations.

The villagers never made much money from their willow products until the village comprising around 1,000 people-led by pioneers like Liu-discovered Taobao, an online shopping platform of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, in 2011.

Now, with four online stores on Taobao.com and one store on Alibaba’s business-to-consumer site Tmall, Liu has sold thousands of products nationwide with yearly income crossing 4 million yuan ($601,000).

“In the past, we sold our products to nearby commodities markets, but now we run our own businesses, which gives us freedom and more money,” says Liu.

“All my family members, including my two sons, who have just graduated from university, are working for the online stores. Our buyers range from individuals to companies. We also design products for customers.”

According to Wang Yanping, the head of Xuezhuang village, weaving willow is a traditional skill in the village with a nearly 300-year history.

Related News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *