With restaurants closed and express delivery stopped, people rely on local markets more for grocery delivery during coronavirus outbreak.

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In Zhangjiagang, a small city in eastern Jiangsu province, TechNode visual reporter Shi Jiayi found out that many merchants in the local wet market are using group chats in WeChat to sell vegetables and meat. Instead of using grocery delivery platforms like Alibaba’s Eleme and Meituan who set the delivery price, they rely on independent delivery drivers who charge by distance. Customers can also get a cheaper price if they purchase in groups.

Last week, Zhangjiagang broke the zero case record by having two confirmed cases. Zhangjiagang East Wet Market lost 60 percent of the customers, according to one merchant. It’s easy to see how technology is helping people who are afraid of going out, they can have fresh vegetables, fruits and meat delivered to their doors in two hours. At the same time, despite all this digitalization, the whole operation relies on food delivery drivers who still need to take the risk of being exposed to infection.

Jiayi Shi is the Shanghai-based visual reporter helping provide multimedia elements about China’s fast-changing technology and culture. She holds a B.A. in Convergence Journalism from the University... More by Shi Jiayi

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