Su Qianqian, who runs an online store for hand-drawn postcards, discusses her business with Luo Runfa, an e-commerce instructor, after a training class in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, in September. JU HUANZONG/XINHUA
A newly released e-commerce report showed that the Internet has created more job opportunities for China's disabled population.
As of June, 316,000 disabled people had opened online stores on Taobao, China's biggest online shopping platform, with sales of 10.5 billion yuan ($1.63 billion) in 2014.
The report, prepared by the Ali Research Institute, was released on Thursday at the China Disabled Persons' Federation in Beijing. It analyzed aspects of the store owners and customers on Taobao, one of Alibaba's main online marketplaces.
It showed that disabled online store owners in eastern coastal cities had the best sales, with Zhejiang province on top, followed by Guangdong and Shanghai.
Male online store owners accounted for about 64 percent, while female owners accounted for 36 percent.
Nearly 25 percent of online stores owned by disabled owners sell clothing.
The report also said that nearly 80 percent of owners had no chance for a college education, and their highest degree for most was a high school diploma. About a quarter only finished elementary school.
The report also showed that 80 percent of the owners earned less than 30,000 yuan a year from the online stores, or about 2,500 yuan per month.
The research institute also studied disabled customers, finding that 2.69 million disabled clients shopped on Taobao as of June, spending 13 billion yuan in 2014.
Disabled clients spent more on electric cars, family health, online games and instruments and spent less on travel than other customers, the report found.
The Internet is a gateway for many disabled people to engage in society, said Zhang Haidi, chairwoman of the federation. The cooperation with Alibaba is a seed that encourages disabled people to work, she said.
"We are dedicated to cooperation with the China Disabled Person's Federation and other organizations to establish an online 'barrier-free' ecology that allows disabled people to enjoy equal rights with others on the Internet," said Alibaba's President Jin Jianhang.
Alibaba will invest 300 million yuan over the next five years to provide 50,000 online jobs for disabled people and to train 100,000 online, Jin said.
China has more than 80 million disabled.
Zheng Ran, a former Paralympic Games basketball player, retired from the court and became a star online store owner in 2012 selling equipment for the disabled in 2012.
"Sports changed me, and the Internet business changed my life," she said.
Top 10 products
What disabled online store owners sell on Taobao
· Shoes, suitcases and bags
· Online games
· Digital products
· Office supplies
· Sports equipment
· Jewelry and accessories
Source: Ali Research Institute
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