Chinese tech company Alibaba has announced it will expand its ecommerce platform Taobao to better serve rural areas.
Taobao, which is the largest e-commerce website in the world, will be expanded to serve 1,000 counties and 150,000 villages over the next three years. It currently covers 700 counties with over 30,000 service centres.
This forms part of Alibaba’s Rural Taobao initiative, which was announced in 2014 and is a main strategy of the company to expand its focus on rural areas. This will help the company target the 600mn-plus people who live in rural China.
Bill Wang, Vice President of Alibaba Group and general manager of Rural Taobao, has stated: “Our mission is clear: we want to improve the living conditions of China’s rural regions. To do se, we need to provide high-quality goods, personalised services, smart logistic solutions and prices comparable to that of cities.”
Alibaba recently announced a $717mn investment into rural ecommerce development, injecting the cash into rural ecommerce platform Huitongda Network Co. Huitongda has partnerships with around 80,000 rural independent shops across China.