More than one thousand guests gathered in Lishui. Taobao villages are facing a bright future.
There were only 3 Taobao villages in 2009, and the number was increased to 780 in 2015. China's Taobao villages have passed an unusual leaping development path and are now facing a bright future. How large was the scale of Taobao villages throughout the country in 2015? What kind of changes is the Taobao village model bringing to China's rural economy?
From December 24 to 25, 2015, the 3rd China Taobao Village Summit Forum with the theme of "public entrepreneurship and general innovation" was ceremoniously held in Lishui, Zhejiang. More than 1,200 people, including representatives of Taobao villages throughout the country, village researchers and e-business platform enterprises gathered together to discuss about the Taobao village model and the new economy path for China's villages. Zhou Qiren, a famous economist, Jin Jianhang, President of Alibaba Group, and important guests from institutions such as Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and Peking University attended the forum and made keynote speeches. At the forum, AliResearch released the 2015 Research Report on China's Taobao Villages and announced the latest list of China's Taobao villages and Taobao towns in 2015.
The scale of Taobao villages in the whole country reached a new level in 2015. The number of Taobao villages up to the standards around the country reached 780, with a year-on-year growth of 268%. Covering more than 200,000 active online shops, these Taobao villages are widely distributed in 17 provinces and cities. Among them, the number of Taobao villages in Zhejiang, Guangdong and Jiangsu ranked in the top three in the country.
Number of Taobao villages found in the provinces and cities in China in 2015
71 Taobao towns have sprung up around the country with a year-on-year growth reaching 274%, including 22 in Guangdong, 20 in Zhejiang, 11 in Jiangsu, 7 in Fujian, 6 in Shandong, and 5 in Hebei. As more and more Taobao towns came into being, Taobao villages have stronger industrial cluster effect and more significant pulling effect on the regional economy.
Top 10 prefecture-level cities by the number of Taobao villages in China in 2015
Taobao villages also stand out conspicuously in stimulating the economy of the central and western regions as well as poor regions. In 2015, 17 Taobao villages in total were found in the central and western regions, and 2 Taobao villages were found in the northeast regions. Taobao villages were found for the first time in 7 provinces and cities including Hunan, Jiangxi, Yunnan, Beijing, Jilin, Liaoning and Ningxia. From 2014, Taobao villages began to appear in some national-level poverty-stricken counties. The number of Taobao villages in national-level poverty-stricken counties increased from 4 in the previous year to 10 in 2015, and the number of Taobao villages in provincial-level poverty-stricken counties reached 166.
In terms of category, items contributing the highest online turnover to Taobao villages in 2015 were clothes. Furniture and shoes ranked second and third respectively. The fourth to the tenth in turn were: automotive supplies; suitcases, bags and leather products; toys; household commodities; bedding; outdoor supplies; main home decoration materials.
In this year, Taobao villages started to show new development features. In 2015, apart from clustering and globalization, B2B e-commerce villages began to emerge on a large scale. This kind of villages was more closely associated with local industrial clusters and greatly expanded the transaction scale of Taobao villages in the future. Meanwhile, local governments in all places continuously promoted the supportive policies for Taobao villages which are developing from the wildly-growing stage to the current stage where the market and the government push their development cooperatively.
Taobao villages are an important part of the rural strategy of Alibaba Group. Alibaba's rural strategy has formed the structure of "dual cores + N". "Dual cores" refer to rural Taobao and Taobao villages, and "N" refers to the diversified agriculture-related businesses on the platforms of Alibaba, such as china.taobao.com, Taobao agriculture, Daxue.taobao.com, miao.tmall.com, ny.taobao.com, mantianxing.taobao.com, ye.1688.com, etc. Alibaba hopes to realize the goal of "serving the farmers, innovating in agriculture and creating better villages" through implementing the rural strategy.
From 2013 to 2015, Taobao Village Summit Forum has been held for three consecutive years in Lishui, Zhejiang, adding a bright symbol to this beautiful city in southwest Zhejiang—rural e-commerce. From 2016, Taobao Village Summit Forum will be held around the country through bidding. Currently, the host place for the 4th Taobao Village Summit Forum has been decided through appraisal. Shuyang County of Jiangsu Province has gained the right to host the forum which will be held formally in the fourth quarter next year.
[Appendix: Definitions of Taobao village and Taobao town] "Taobao village" is a village with a large number of online merchants who take Taobao as the main trade platform, rely on the e-business ecosystem of Taobao and form a cluster of online business on a large scale with synergistic effect. The identification standards of Taobao villages mainly include the following three principles: The premises are in administrative villages in rural areas; the annual e-commerce transaction volume reaches over RMB 10 million; the number of active online shops in the village reaches 100 or more, or active online shops account for 10% or more of local households. A town, township or neighborhood with three or more administrative villages that fit the criterion of Taobao villages is a "Taobao town". This is an ecological phenomenon of rural e-commerce at a higher level developed on the basis of Taobao villages.