(Yicai Global) April 19 -- Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., China's dominant e-commerce player, plans to open 100 farm produce hubs for its online Taobao marketplace by the end of 2018, China News Service reported.
Alibaba kicked off the first of these warehouse and logistics centers in Yanbian prefecture in the northeastern Chinese province of Jilin, planning to turn it into the largest central storage for agricultural produce in the northeast within three years. As a major agricultural province, Jilin has ranked top nationwide for grain output over many years.
Hangzhou-based Alibaba will build hubs in other regions with favorable conditions, aiming to complete 100 by the end of 2018, the report said, citing Wang Ke, vice director of rural logistics at Alibaba's Cainiao Network Technology Co.
The program aims to develop a new agricultural industrial model with integrated production, quality checks, distribution, circulation and financial services in local areas, Alibaba Vice President Fang Jiansheng said at the launch ceremony.
Fang said the hubs would realize the model of "consuming goods + saving agricultural materials and helping farmers cut costs," building up a county-village e-commerce service system in rural areas. The centers would also achieve "increasing agricultural output and help farmers create income," so as to facilitate the branding, growth and added value of farmed goods businesses.
Alibaba Vice President Sun Lijun has said the group will develop its businesses in three areas over the five to 10 years: rural e-commerce, cross-border trade, and Big Data. The top priority being rural e-commerce businesses.