Integrated development brings prosperity to China’s countryside

China has worked vigorously to improve infrastructure, perfect government services and upgrade digital governance in the countryside in recent years. Such efforts have boosted urban-rural integrated development, bridging the income gap between rural and urban areas, and bringing more talents to invest and start business in rural areas.

Aerial photo shows a countryside hostel in Shanbao community of Jiuba Township, Tongzi County, southwest China’s Guizhou Province, July 21, 2020. (Xinhua/Tao Liang)

Fangjiaao village, Qiangtou town, Xiangshan county of Ningbo city in east China’s Zhejiang province has grown rich through rural tourism. Garnering a tourism income of over 38 million yuan (about $5.7 million) in 2019, it was rated as one of the key villages for rural tourism nationwide in September.

Situated between the sea and mountains, the village boasts beautiful scenery. Aiming at rural tourism, it has made great efforts in recent years to transform its infrastructure, including dredging waterways, improving green coverage and building new roads. As its tourism industry grows, the village is also building tourist centers and fairs.

Now the village, with a population of just over 2,200, has a total of 45 B&B hotels. With nine public toilets and 10 free car parks and facilities for public activities, such as swimming pools, benefit both local residents and tourists.

Apart from the improvement in infrastructure, digital governance is also contributing to rural tourism.

A B&B hotel in Xintangling village, in Zhejiang’s Quzhou city, continues to receive increasing orders even after holidays all due to the online room booking system recently introduced to the hotel.

According to Tang Huiqing, vice manager of the hotel, services such as room reservation, check-in, and check-out can all be handled online, which makes the daily operation of the hotel more convenient.

“Now we advertise the hotel online, and therefore receive more tourists,” said Tang.

In addition, digitalization has made government services much easier. People can have access to government services on e-platforms. In Tang’s case, she completed applying for relevant funds for her hotel on an official WeChat account within just a few minutes. Likewise, villages all across Quzhou have explored simplifying business approval and registration procedures through online platforms. Now, 95 percent of matters can be handled in the village or the community, without the need for a second trip.

Furthermore, Dongziguan village, Fuyang district of Hangzhou city, capital of Zhejiang province, has continuously narrowed the urban-rural gap in terms of infrastructure and government services, attracting more talents to start rural tourism businesses here.

As a result, nearly 5,000 talents have returned to the village to start their own business over the years, creating nearly 100,000 jobs for villagers and residents from nearby villages. 

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