Alibaba has launched Rural Taobao in order to help the technology challenged people to make online purchases for the basic necessities
For a very long time, Alibaba Group Holding is trying to expand its footprints in the rural areas of China. The online retailer does have an 80 percent or so market share in the domestic region but the people living in rural areas are still not familiar with its name or does not have the basic facilities in order to get things from the online retail shop. The shoppers are not much advanced there plus the barriers it will have to face while delivering packages to the rural area shoppers would be a big challenge.
Previously it was noted that Alibaba Group was all set to build roads that would have been one obstacle in its way while delivering packages to the customers. It is currently working to connect its online marketplaces with rural residents so that they are more engrossed in online shopping than offline shopping. For that matter, the company is taking help from a man named Luo Rong. Mr. Rong quit his engineering job last fall from which he used to make $30,000 annually. He has now moved back to his village at Jade Peak with his family and opened a shop with a big orange and green sign out front.
The store which Luo Rong runs is not thickly stocked but has a few packages of seeds, sweaters, sneakers, laundry soaps, and Skittles candy. Irrespective of the size of its stock, reports suggest that there is no lack of customers as of yet. The Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has provided him with a computer and a big screen display. He starts working from 7:30 in the morning till 11:00 p.m. while only taking breaks for meals. During this time, Luo helps his neighbors who are more technology challenged to buy fertilizers, TVs, grocery, and electric cars from Alibaba’s platform made only for them called Rural Taobao.
Luo Rong not only helps them in purchasing but takes care of all the payments and delivery to Jade Peak in order to make the whole process easy. However his earning method is receiving commission for the sales made from sellers.
A 56 year old farmer, Luo Laibing, recently stopped at the store to buy more than 1,000 pounds of fertilizer. He said, “This is going to change the whole village. It’s saving us money and time, and is making life much more convenient.”
It is believed that a newly devised marketplace for people in rural areas, Rural Taobao, is an ‘ambitious’ push by the Chinese e-commerce leader to capitalize and monetize the 600 million residents’ market. The company is making efforts in order to turn the rural residents into online shoppers or sellers. This move is also a part of its growth plan which is currently stalled due to the slow economic growth since 2009.
The general manager of Rural Taobao, Sun Lijun, said in a statement “The success of rural e-commerce throughout China is due to the top-to-bottom concern from the government … starting from the president and the premier down to lower-level officials and departments. We have 300 counties participating so far, and when we send in one Alibaba employee, the government deploys 10 people.”