China will guide businesses to introduce new products and services into markets below the county-level to further narrow the urban-rural consumption gap, government officials said.
The government will deploy more resources to build a modern circulation system in counties, towns and villages by upgrading informatization services and related infrastructure facilities, pushing the standardization of commercial goods, and complementing the shortcomings of rural commerce during the nation's 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25) period, said Wang Bingnan, vice-minister of Commerce.
In the county-level markets, the official said the government will focus on building a number of comprehensive commercial service and logistics distribution centers to unleash the consumption potential in Chinese counties.
Apart from rebuilding and advancing a number of business centers and boosting service activities in townships, the government will help in transforming shops, which are usually run by families, into chain stores in villages.
In the meantime, the country will encourage the enrichment of express delivery and distribution of agricultural products in these markets, based on local conditions.
"We will never engage in low-level redundant construction, and will never allow rural businesses to engage in disorderly and unfair competition," he added.
Total retail sales of consumer goods in China's rural areas amounted to 5.3 trillion yuan ($823.62 billion) in 2020, about 26.1 percent higher than 2015; it has been growing faster than urban areas for eight consecutive years, data from the Ministry of Commerce showed.
Hou Yanbo, spokesman for the State Postal Bureau, said the bureau will promote the construction of village-level delivery service stations in the coming years. The bureau to date has built a total of 2,084 rural distribution centers to serve the growth of e-commerce businesses in villages and towns across China.