A total of more than 100 billion RMB ($16 billion USD) worth of agricultural goods were traded through the internet in 2014, accounting for 3% of the total agricultural trades in China, according to the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture. They also claim there are 3,000 sites that trade agricultural products in China.
The Ministry made sure to link the stats to its Internet Plus strategy, which has an agricultural component. Internet Plus is a policy led by China’s State Council to boost the economy by promoting new web-based businesses. In the State Council paper, Agriculture was singled out as one of the eleven industries vital to the Chinese economy that could benefit from a digital overhaul.
Agriculture Internet of Things (IoT) initiatives are currently adopted in eight provinces including Beijing, Heilongjiang province, and Inner Mongolia.
The Ministry of Agriculture Bureau Chief Zhang Hecheng believes that technology can stimulate and influence the agricultural production. “Future internet innovation holds great importance in agriculture production, operation, and management to improve the agricultural area.”
Currently, few internet companies have jumped on the internet bandwagon in China. Among those that have is eLoancn, a P2P online lending platform focused on agriculture and rural areas. Farmers can ask for personal loans for agricultural purposes. A crowd-sourced cooking website Xiachufang went one step further, by joining four Beijing and Shanghai based organic farms to provide organic ingredients for its environmentally conscious consumers.
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