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May 7, 2024    

Rural Revitalization Commissioners Help Digitalise the Countryside

Case Study; Innovative Poverty Alleviation Initiative; E-commerce-powered Rural Poverty Reduction; Alibaba Rural Revitalization Commissioner Project; Alibaba Rural Revitalization Fund

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I. Overview:

An active participant in the important pursuits of poverty alleviation and rural vitalisation, Alibaba has created and implemented programmes such as the Alibaba Poverty Alleviation Fund, which was launched in December 2017 and evolved into the Alibaba Rural Revitalization Fund in 2021 after absolute poverty was effectively eliminated in China, with the goal of helping agriculture become stronger and more secure, the countryside maintain and enhance its beauty and become more vitalised, and rural residents become more prosperous by contributing its wisdom to empowerment and development. 

The e-commerce and technology company launched an undertaking known as the Poverty Alleviation Commissioner project in May 2019 in order to help underdeveloped counties emerge from poverty and achieve a reasonable degree of prosperity, which ultimately transformed into its Rural Revitalization Commissioner project in 2021. The committed and devoted commissioners that are selected from the numerous applicants that express interest in the undertaking live in and make contributions to grassroots communities in underdeveloped counties for extended periods of time. Their professionalism coupled with the power of the internet and other information technologies and new concepts and ideas help bring about significant changes in these towns and villages. The commissioners’ efforts have helped the administrative areas that they work in vitalise themselves through the pursuit and development of various industries; greater numbers of people have gotten involved with rural vitalisation and become rural entrepreneurs; young people have become more confident about the future; and material that organisations wanting to participate in in-depth rural vitalisation may want to reference has emerged.

II.  Approach and Methodology:

The Alibaba Foundation has chosen 26 experienced employees who have expressed interest to serve as rural revitalization commissioners in 24 underdeveloped counties located in 13 provinces across China, including Shanxi, Hunan, Guizhou, and Gansu, as of early 2023. 

The commissioners identify the crux of the problems that hinder development in the areas they work in and apply Alibaba’s resources to them. They cooperate with local governments and leverage the company’s ecosystem– a core commerce business providing sales services and electronic payment services, supplementary cloud computing and digital media and entertainment business arms, an innovation initiatives segment, and a financial services associate among other aspects – in order to promote rural vitalisation by employing science and technology, pursuing and developing various industries, and cultivating talent.

The commissioners help counties make progress in areas such as job creation, education, and healthcare by implementing a new Internet Plus rural vitalisation development model involving aggregation of resources across various platforms, integration of online and offline channels, and provision of customised solutions that help people boost their incomes and become more prosperous. Internet Plus refers to an open-ended equation in which technologies such as cloud computing, big data, and the Internet of Things (IoT) are applied to industries and undertakings like manufacturing, commerce, banking, agriculture, and rural development as a means of invigorating and advancing them.


A map depicting where the 21 Alibaba rural revitalization commissioners who were active in early 2023 were working

The hardworking rural revitalization commissioners have received a lot of praise and recognition for the outcomes they have helped bring about.

“[The combination of] our motivation and their dedication has made it possible for us to embark on an e-commerce-powered path to prosperity,” a 58-year-old resident of Lixian County, Longnan City, Gansu Province, who markets his agricultural products on livestreaming platforms named Zhang Jiacheng mentioned recently.

“Government support and financial aid provided by Alibaba helped make it possible for my child’s congenital heart disease to be cured, which has really lit up our family,” remarked Lao Wu, a farmer living in Julu County, Xingtai City, Hebei Province.

III. Reference and Recommendations for Other Countries:

Alibaba’s poverty alleviation and rural vitalisation work is powered by its digital middle platform, which refers to architecture based on a concept and term that originated with the company in 2015 and has been gaining recognition in the Chinese market denoting the organisation of reusable services in order to satisfy volatile user scenarios in contrast to and located in the middle of front-end user interfaces that communicate with back-end applications that manipulate the data layer against certain processes, in addition to its ecosystem, other technological capabilities and diligent commissioners. The company’s Internet Plus rural vitalisation development model effectively addresses difficulties and creates new opportunities in deserving communities using the power of these resources.

Alibaba has been pursuing a long-term rural vitalisation strategy in which it strives to help impoverished and underdeveloped areas improve their infrastructure, optimise their industrial models, establish brands, cultivate talent teams, and stimulate endogenous development momentum and the ability to develop independently in order to help the people who live in them enhance their abilities, improve sales of their agricultural products, and increase their incomes.

The retailer applies resources related to technology, products, operations, and other areas in order to make direct contributions to scientific and technological development in counties that had previously been recognised as being stricken with severe poverty at the State level but had recently emerged from it and are now deemed key rural vitalisation counties. It also cooperates with partners involved with its ecosystem, including enterprises, research institutes, social welfare organisations, e-commerce merchants, and consumers, in the creation of platforms that help people and organisations participate in poverty alleviation and rural vitalisation. Alibaba hopes its Internet Plus rural vitalisation development model can provide useful reference material for policymakers and organisations that want to reduce poverty and promote prosperity by harnessing e-commerce and technology.

For more information, please contact WFP China COE (wfpcn.coe@wfp.org)


Rural Revitalization Commissioners Help Digitalise the Countryside


Rural Revitalization Commissioners Help Digitalise the Countryside


Case Study