Chinese social e-commerce platform Pinduoduo said on Tuesday that it earned sales revenue of more than RMB 65 billion (around $9.7 billion) in 2018 from a special program that sells farm produce from poverty-stricken regions. The report on the program is a timely response to announcements made during the central government’s annual Two Sessions meetings, promoting new poverty relief initiatives with the help of information technologies.

Annual sales revenue from the program totaled RMB 65.3 billion in 2018, a 233% increase from 2017, according to the report. Perishable products worth more than RMB 16 billion were sourced from 140,000 suppliers living in regions with high poverty rates, including those in the western Chinese provinces of Xizang, Xinjiang, and Gansu. Products sold on the platform include melon, garlic, yellow ginger, and Hunan-style pickled vegetables.

The government has been working to lift large rural areas out of poverty amid economic headwinds. Chinese premier Li Keqiang announced that one priority this year is “more efficient poverty alleviation” during his annual report on Monday in Beijing during the Two Sessions meetings, according to (in Chinese) state-owned media Xinhua Agency.

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Jill Shen

Jill Shen is Shanghai-based technology reporter. She covers Chinese mobility, autonomous vehicles, and electric cars. Connect with her via e-mail: jill.shen@technode.com or Twitter: @yushan_shen