China’s breakneck development has allowed a sophisticated e-commerce sector develop alongside a large rural population that is still plagued by poverty. It’s a disparity that has led to a unique relationship between agriculture and e-commerce, with $16 billion USD in agricultural goods traded online annually.

Now China’s government is hoping to boost the digital sector in rural and remote China by investing 140 billion yuan ($22 billion USD approx.) in extending the broadband network to 98% of the country by 2020.

The ambitious plan was laid out by China’s state council on Wednesday, and involves around 50,000 villages in rural and remote China. The memo details how 30 million households will gain improved internet access as part of the five-year project.

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Cate Cadell

Cate is a tech writer. She worked as a journalist in Australia, Mongolia and Myanmar. You can reach her (in Chinese or English) at: @catecadell or catecadell@technode.com