Taobao Villages - The Emergence of a New Pattern of Rural Ecommerce in China and its Social Implications

Author: Fan Lulu, Sun-yat Sen University, Guangzhou; FES Shanghai 2018

Taobao, a subsidiary to the biggest Chinese e-commerce player Alibaba, is a Chinese online shopping website and platform with over 580 million monthly active users in 2018.

A Taobao Village by Chinese definition is a village with at least 50 households operating their own shops on Taobao. These clusters of rural online entrepreneurs have become a significant force behind the development of “rural e-commerce” in China.

If the negative aspects of Taobao villages on labour, social and safety standards can be mitigated, it might not only be an interesting development and employment programme for rural and remote areas in China, but most probably also for other Asian countries with a distinct rural character and a rural-urban divide to connect unique local products with urban purchasing power.

 

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