Across China: E-commerce brings vitality to mountainous region
Wearing light makeup, Liang Qianjuan started a livestreaming session on her phone, telling a story about walnuts grown in her hometown and their health benefits. Within a minute, dozens of orders for the walnuts swarmed in from her online followers.
Liang is a businesswoman from Huixian County of Longnan City in northwest China's Gansu Province. As the owner of an e-commerce company, she has been a deputy to the National People's Congress (NPC), the top legislature, since 2018.
"The dual roles give me a sense of accomplishment, yet with greater responsibility," said the 35-year-old.
Having dropped out of school at the age of 17, Liang started up her business in 2012 and enjoyed great success, popularizing e-commerce in her remote hometown.
Longnan is rich in natural resources, but local specialties such as walnuts, olive oil and pepper were once confined to the mountainous area because of the geological isolation and backward transportation.
Thanks to Liang, e-commerce has added wings to local produce, making it possible to reach customers across the nation. "Our homemade chili sauce was even shipped to Mexico," she said.
E-commerce has also emerged as a pivotal means of alleviating poverty in Longnan. Statistics show that by the end of 2020, about 14,000 online stores had opened in Longnan, helping lift about 150,000 people out of poverty.
The close ties Liang built with local villagers through her e-commerce venture have proved useful in her other role -- serving as an NPC deputy.
Liang would pay frequent visits to local farmers after a long day's work, listen to their concerns and gather their opinions.
Shi Haiping, 59, is one of the farmers she visited. During the visit, Shi express her worries about the talent drain in her village.
"More and more young people would rather find jobs in big cities than stay in the village," said Shi. "It's good for them to have more job opportunities, but it's also hollowing out the village."
Liang wrote down these concerns in her notebook, reassuring the farmer that the booming e-commerce sector is attracting university graduates to rural areas.
"But they still need support from the government and e-commerce companies to start up their own businesses," she added.
During last year's NPC session, Liang suggested that more e-commerce training should be provided for young people. At this year's ongoing session, she continues to focus on talent cultivation in rural areas.
Liang's warm personality makes her fellow villagers willing to open up to her, and she always listens to them attentively.