Pinduoduo Launches Poverty Alleviation Program in Zunyi
COVID-19 and China
Pinduoduo poverty alleviation programs. Photo: Credit to Pinduoduo website

Shanghai's Party chief Li Qiang led a Shanghai delegation on May 9 to poor rural villages, industrial parks, farms and vocational schools in Zunyi, a city in southwestern China's Guizhou Province.

During his visit, Li inspected the process of poverty alleviation and discussed innovative poverty-fighting measures in different areas.

He also examined the program undertaken by e-commerce giant Pinduoduo and retail company Unilever that is designed to reduce poverty in the tea industry.

The program manager said Pinduoduo will expand cooperation with local tea farmers and help establish multiple tea workshops to help raise their income.

Zunyi is a traditional grower of tea. In 2016, the entire areas of tea farms in Zunyi exceeded 2 million mu, or over 133,333 hectares. However, for a long time, local tea has not enjoyed a high reputation or added value in the market, which has affected its sales.

The Shanghai-based firm said it will provide big data technology in the development and package design of two tea products: zun yi hong (a black tea) and zun yi lü  (a green tea).

Moreover, Pinduoduo will take advantage of its e-commerce platform to help promote these tea products and boost their sales.

In a separate move, Pinduoduo also launched Duoduo Nongyuan (多多农园) on April 21, a scheme of innovative poverty alleviation and agricultural support, under the guidance of the Shanghai Municipal Government Cooperation and Exchange Office.

Through Duoduo Nongyuan, Pinduoduo will connect the “last mile” to consumers and the “first mile” to the goods’ places of origin.

By exploring the new model of the agricultural industry,  farmers will become the main beneficiaries of the whole industry chain.

"Over the years, we have made great efforts to offer industrial assistance and employment support," said Li of the Shanghai government. "Next, we should spend more time thinking about optimization and upgrading of the production chain."

The Party chief also stressed that it is necessary to facilitate sales through the accurate integration of e-commerce platforms, which will further accelerate economic development and sustain prosperity in these impoverished/poverty-stricken rural areas.

E-commerce platforms such as, Tencent, Kuaishou and Taobao have also participated in shoring up the poverty alleviation efforts in rural areas, but they are only at the stage of doing sales promotion. They have yet to move down the value chain of the industry.

Meanwhile, Pinduoduo has a low-tier-city "gene" ingrained into its culture since its inception. The company's development is driven largely by rural consumers and it has a strong incentive to revolutionize the production and supply chains.

In the 2018 Poverty Alleviation and Farmers Annual Report issued by Pinduoduo, the number of merchants in poverty-stricken counties nationwide was more than 140,000, while the annual orders totaled CNY 16.2 billion, creating more than 300,000 jobs in industries ranging from logistics and operations to agricultural products processing.

In the next five years, Pinduoduo will launch 1,000 demonstration projects in eight provinces and autonomous prefectures, covering the southwestern and northwestern regions of China.

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