By Xinhua writer Zhang Zhongkai
As a time-honored tradition for preparing for Chinese New Year, Spring Festival shopping in cities has become more rustic this year.
Pepper sauce from Guizhou, navel oranges from Jiangxi and beef shank from Anhui are part of the rural specialties Beijing-based IT engineer Zhang Xin bought for the upcoming week-long Spring Festival holiday. They are all products from poor villages.
Zhang bought some of the delicacies from e-commerce platforms, and some from a fair held in his community designed to promote products from rural areas.
The rural specialties sales boom in urban areas is a result of China's all-out efforts to achieve its goal of lifting its rural population out of poverty by 2020.
Wholesalers, e-commerce companies and supermarkets are encouraged to establish stable and long-term cooperative relationships with impoverished villages to power the country's poverty eradication campaign, according to a plan released Tuesday by 10 government agencies.
Social e-commerce giant Pinduoduo showed that orders of rural specialties exceeded 55 million from Jan. 4 to Jan. 24 in its online Spring Festival fair, a record high.
A local pickle product in central China's Hunan Province developed by the platform's poverty-reduction program sold 15,800 bottles on the platform the day it was launched. Total sales exceeded 3.3 million yuan (490,500 U.S. dollars) so far, bringing additional income of 3,000 to 5,000 yuan for over 200 rural households.
Other e-commerce players also leverage their platforms to enrich consumers's shopping choices while boosting sales in poor areas. Alibaba's Taobao has invited heads of 50 counties across the country to sell their local products via live streaming.
The Spring Festival shopping season is an important opportunity for e-commerce platforms to upgrade their mechanisms in poverty reduction, so that improving sales will ensure farmers a jubilant Chinese New Year, said Pinduoduo cofounder Da Da.
Besides shopping online, rural products are coming to cities with fairs springing up in urban communities, companies and institutions to enable first-hand experience and more direct sales.
A poverty-reduction Spring Festival fair in the capital city of China's southernmost Hainan Province gathered rural specialties from 11 counties and sold over 10 million yuan of produce in just three days.
Beijing earlier this month set up a longer-term fair to sell over 2,000 products from poor counties in seven provincial regions. The fair will be open all year round.
The State Council has decided to offer incentives for public and private institutions to purchase goods produced in the impoverished regions, while expanding the sales channels of farm produce in the areas.
Product quality in poor areas should be enhanced, with local infrastructure improved so that rural tourism can be developed, according to the guidelines released by the State Council.