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China: Around The Nation

Chinese villagers become millionaires selling yarn online

Farmers in Hebei province drop agriculture and make a fortune selling woollen thread on the internet

PUBLISHED : Monday, 06 March, 2017, 2:46pm
UPDATED : Monday, 06 March, 2017, 2:46pm

People in a rural village in northern China have hit the jackpot after they gave up farming to sell woollen yarn online, according to Chinese media reports.

Donggaozhuang, about 3½ hours’ drive from Xingtai in Hebei province, has produced dozens of millionaires after its villagers took to selling the thread on the online shopping platform Taobao, the Beijing Youth Daily reported.

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Taobao, the country’s biggest online marketplace, is owned by the Alibaba Group. It also owns the South China Morning Post.

Donggaozhuang is home to at least 400 e-shops that only sell yarn online, according to the article.

Villagers buy the wool and turn it into thread.

One village leader was quoted as saying that the village with a population of slightly more than 2,000 now boasts a few dozen millionaires since their yarn businesses gained popularity online.

It all started with a young villager who set up an online store and made 20,000 yuan (US$2,900) in just three months.

His fellow villagers, whose main livelihood was from growing wheat and corn, were amazed, the article said.

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Village leaders then asked the man to teach others how to start their own businesses.

More villagers followed suit, selling or leasing their farmland to focus on producing yarn.

Many village children have quit high school to help manage their families’ businesses, the report said.