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'Taobao villages' mushroom across China
Last Updated: 2014-01-23 11:17 | CE.cn
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By Li Hongmei

The rapid development of Taobao - China's foremost e-commerce website - over the past few years has fostered 14 "Taobao villages," areas featuring large numbers of Taobao vendors, with Dongfeng village in Shaji, a town in east China's Jiangsu province, topping the pack, reports the People's Daily on its Chinese-language website.

The town has over 2,000 online vendors that saw sales of 800 million yuan (US$132.2 million) in 2012, the paper said.

Since the emergence of the first local Taobao vendor seven years ago, Dongfeng village has formed into a complete online supply chain, covering materials, design, production, sales, and logistics, turning many villagers into millionaires.

Sun Han is the largest online vendor in Dongfeng village, running a furniture factory with annual sales hitting 6 million yuan (US$991,300). "For their low prices, my furniture products have fashionable designs, a major reason for their popularity online, especially among urban white-collar workers," Sun said.

Encouraged by his success, many of his neighbors put away their farming equipment and jumped into online business. The fever soon spread to the whole of Shaji town, whose streets are now dotted with various stores, for clothes, footwear, farming machinery, mainly for online sales.

The booming online business of Dongfeng village is evidenced by the busy operation of local logistics firms, which are operating almost until midnight every day in order to ship goods to customers before the Chinese Lunar New Year holiday.

Meanwhile, Shaji town is now home to 180 furniture factories, six wooden veneer factories, 14 express delivery firms, and one internet service firm offering online consulting services to vendors.

Sun Han now heads the e-commerce association of Shaji township, which helps local online vendors conduct personnel training and promote their brands, in addition to conducting group talks with suppliers of logistics, telecom service, and raw materials, in order to obtain lower prices, the paper said.

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