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[July 20, 2014]
Villagers turn to smartphones, blogs to promote harvest [China Daily: Africa Weekly]
(China Daily: Africa Weekly Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Villagers in a section of Tianjin are turning to the modern grapevine to get word out on their produce.
Zhu Zhenhong, grape farmer of Shuangjie, got her first smartphone from the local government to promote her grape products on micro blogs and WeChat on Saturday.
"I've sold our grape products by phone in the past, but now I can communicate with our customers and show the photos on the web, with my micro blogs," Zhu said. "That could bring higher sales revenue this year." Together with Zhu, 506 families in the village got a smartphone and started their own micro blogs on Sina.com.
"This is the first village in the country to popularize smartphones and micro blog marketing in every family," said Cheng Xuliang, sales director of the Tianjin branch of Sina.com.
Trainers from a micro blog platform launched a training program for Shuangjie villagers covering e-commerce, using smartphones and micro blogs and online transactions.
"We can also share grape planting technique and marketing information though WeChat," said Liu Chunhai, head of the village.
The village promotes techniques to grow grapes under rain shields, helping reduce the rate of plant disease and the amount of pesticide they use, less than 10 percent that used previously, Tian Shufen, secretary-general of the Chinese Society for Viticulture, said.
The village has for many years been working to control soil pollution and using organic fertilizers, Liu said.
Because Shuangjie's grape harvest is 20 days earlier than in other cities in North China, the produce is expected to sell outside Tianjin, said Zhang Qingfeng, deputy secretary-general of China Fruit Marketing Association.
The village has established grape-related businesses, producing wine, grape juice and healthcare and beauty products, Liu said.
Liu added that Shuangjie has been cooperating with SF Express, one of the country's leading couriers, to boost online-to-offline business.
Zhang Min and Lyv Shuang contributed to the story.
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