The Jitian village dance group, in matching outfits purchased on Pinduoduo, at the Lunar New Year gala.
Asia E-commerce

Let 100 Apps Blossom: WeChat, Pinduoduo Transform China’s Rural Life

By  |  June 10, 2019 7:00 AM PDT
Photo: The Jitian village dance group, in matching outfits purchased on Pinduoduo, at the Lunar New Year gala.

Last year, after nearly a decade working long hours at a variety of factory and office jobs in Shenzhen, one of China’s tech-saturated mega cities, 28-year-old Yu Lixia came home to Jitian, the remote village where she grew up. She started a modest online shop selling local specialties such as tea and wild mushrooms to customers near and far.

Ms. Yu’s decision to return to her rural roots would have been surprising just a few years ago, when hundreds of millions of people were fleeing China’s small towns in search of good jobs and excitement in cities. But cheap smartphones and a government push to bring affordable internet access to poor areas are changing how rural residents spend their time and money, and creating new opportunities that are drawing some transplanted city dwellers home. The trend, while still small, is opening up new markets for internet giants Alibaba, ByteDance, Tencent and others whose social media, payment and e-commerce apps are driving the change.

Get access to exclusive coverage
Read deeply reported stories from the largest newsroom in tech.
Latest Articles
 
Reality Check AR/VR
Epic to Take Another Crack at Defining the Metaverse; Sony's VR Ambitions
Sony's first VR headset. Photo by Sony
Next Tuesday, Marc Petit of Epic Games plans to talk on the metaverse at the annual SIGGRAPH computer graphics conference. It’ll be a chance for someone other than CEO Tim Sweeney to explain Epic’s vision for this next stage of computing. Hopefully, given the venue, it’ll be more substantive than Sweeney’s tweets and testimony in the Epic v. Apple trial.As the general manager of Epic’s Unreal...
Latest Briefs
 
Robinhood Investors File to Sell Nearly 100 Million Shares
ByteDance to Shut Down Tutoring Apps, Lay Off Staff
Walmart’s Flipkart May Face $1.35 Billion Fine
Stay in the know
Receive a summary of the day's top tech news—distilled into one email.
Access on the go
View stories on our mobile app and tune into our weekly podcast.
Join live video Q&A’s
Deep-dive into topics like startups and autonomous vehicles with our top reporters and other executives.
Enjoy a clutter-free experience
Read without any banner ads.
Art by Mike Sullivan
Modest Proposals Venture Capital
The End of Venture Capital as We Know It
All signs seem to indicate that by 2022, for the first time, nontraditional tech investors—including hedge funds, mutual funds and the like—will invest more in private tech companies than traditional Silicon Valley–style venture capitalists will.
Attorney-General Merrick Garland. Photo by Bloomberg
Exclusive Policy
DOJ Weighing a Lawsuit to Block UnitedHealth’s $8 Billion Change Purchase
The U.S. Department of Justice is weighing a possible lawsuit to block UnitedHealth’s $8 billion purchase of health care analytics and technology vendor Change Healthcare, according to people familiar with the matter.
Ramp co-founders Karim Atiyeh (left) and Eric Glyman. Photo courtesy of Ramp.
Exclusive Venture Capital Startups
Founders Fund, Iconiq Value Ramp at $3.8 Billion in New Funding Round
Corporate credit card startup Ramp is raising its fourth round of venture funding in under eight months, underscoring how back-to-back fundraising rounds—with relatively little business progress in between—is becoming the norm for startups in hot fields such as financial services.
Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang. Photo by Bloomberg
Exclusive Asia Semiconductors
China Antitrust Officials Delay Review of Nvidia’s $40 Billion Arm Acquisition
It’s not just Chinese tech companies that are facing difficulties with China’s ruling party.
Illustration by Mike Sullivan
Exclusive Amazon E-commerce
Amazon Installed Cameras to Track Drivers. New Documents Reveal How They Work.
Amazon raised privacy hackles earlier this year with a plan to put high-tech video cameras in delivery vans to keep tabs on its drivers’ attention to safety.
TaxBit co-founders Justin Woodward (left) and Austin Woodward (right). Photo: TaxBit, Shutterstock.
Exclusive Crypto Venture Capital
Crypto Software Startup TaxBit Triples Valuation in Insight-Led Round
TaxBit, a startup that develops tax software for traders of cryptocurrency, is raising over $100 million at a $1.5 billion valuation in a new funding round, according to three people with direct knowledge of the matter.