E-commerce platforms have helped change Chinese consumer habits and business models across industries. Orange growers in southwest China’s Sichuan Province idea of adapting to e-commerce are reaping the rewards.
China’s best and juiciest oranges reportedly come from Meishan city in southwest China’s Sichuan Province. After an express courier station was set up in Zhengshankou village, some residents decided to get their oranges into the world of e-commerce. Zhang Furong is one of the many young people attracted by this opportunity.
Previously, she worked in two major Chinese cities – Shanghai and Chengdu. Now, she live-streams sales of her oranges. Her live-streaming helps customers watch the processes of growing and harvesting oranges and make purchases right away.
Her income is higher than before. She said her work experience in the internet company boosted her knowledge about e-commerce and her stint in the accounting industry helped with risk control.
The express courier station is the reason why the new business model exists. After placing an order online, fresh oranges are delivered directly to this express station inside the village, only ten minutes away from the grove. Most of the customers receive their orders within three days.
The express courier station has also provided job opportunities for villagers. Apart from selling oranges, they can also work at the station to increase their income. Some villagers don’t need to go out to work anymore; they can work here when they’re not busy on the farm.
Wu Fengjiao, a member of the Zhengshankou Village committee, grows oranges and works in the express courier station. She said the express delivery gets the oranges directly to her customers at a higher price. Her family made about $10,000 by selling oranges last year.
Zhengshankou is the first village with an express courier station in the countryside of Meishan. Officials said it’s a pilot for more such initiatives across the city.
Zhou Zirui is the head of the industry management section in the Meishan municipal post bureau. His experience of setting express courier stations is to leverage the strengths in e-commerce, supply and marketing with rural express courier stations. This will be adjusted to different agricultural products, as well as the size and the population of different villages.
In addition to helping people establish a sales network, the local government has also arranged quality assurance training for the farmers every month. In recent years, most villagers in China have been struggling to adapt to the shifts in the agricultural sector brought about by e-commerce and logistics. But, as products can arrive directly from the field to consumers’ homes, growers here say things are getting easier.