Livestreamers sell agricultural products in Rongjiang county, Guizhou province, on Jan 22 ahead of Spring Festival. Consumer spending during the holiday is expected to return to the pre-COVID-19 level or witness a slight increase. [WANG BINGZHEN/FOR CHINA DAILY]
China's central authorities recently issued a five-year (2022-25) action plan for developing the digital economy in rural areas and promoting integrated urban-rural development through overall planning and coordination.
The development of rural e-commerce has helped create a number of distinctive rural e-commerce product brands, and the sales channels of agricultural and sideline products have been greatly expanded, introducing high-quality consumer goods in the countryside and upgrading rural consumption.
At the same time, the development of digital finance in rural areas has improved farmers' payment convenience, reduced transaction costs, provided more flexible financial services for agriculture-related production and alleviated their financing difficulties.
However, some shortcomings remain in the development of the rural digital economy. Currently, more than 98 percent of villages across the country have no access to 5G and the gigabit fiber network. The rural logistics distribution system and network sales system still need to be improved. In addition, the lack of talents, the unsmooth flow of urban and rural factors and the unreasonable allocation of public resources also restrict integrated urban-rural development.
China should accelerate the optimization and upgrading of rural information infrastructure and promote digital transformation of traditional infrastructure such as roads, power grids and water networks. Efforts should be made to innovate the rural distribution service system, increase postal and express delivery outlets in rural areas, and speed up the establishment of smart logistics distribution centers. Implementing digital rural governance and modernizing the rural governance system and capacity by promoting the extension of the "internet plus government services" model in rural areas is the need of the hour.
Rural digital construction should be based on gradual integration, sharing and use of information resources through the connectivity of platforms, to realize the interconnection of urban and rural information infrastructure and the free flow of data element resources. Therefore, the country should adhere to overall design, unified standards, and coordinated development in standardizing the digital economy and formulating development standards.
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