'Chestnut Princess' Helps Rural Residents Promote Agricultural Products via Livestreaming

ByChen Xiaobing January 26, 2023


Alibaba Group, China's e-commerce giant, in May 2021 dispatched Liu Lin, a senior employee with the group, to Qinglong Manchu Autonomous County (in Qinhuangdao, a city in North China's Hebei Province), to work as a rural ombudswoman. During the past year, Liu has yielded fruitful results in helping rural residents promote agricultural products, via livestreaming.

In August 2021, Liu asked workers with Alibaba's Hema supermarket to conduct a blindfold test, so they could decide whether the chestnuts produced in Qinglong or Qianxi (a county in Tangshan, another city in Hebei Province) tasted better. Eventually, Hema authorized Qinglong as its supplier of chestnuts. Since then, many residents of Qinglong have called Liu the "Chestnut Princess." During the summer of 2022, Liu led workers of Alibaba in developing popsicles made from sugar-fried chestnuts. The products have sold well in many regions of the country.

During the past year, Liu has helped many rural women promote agricultural products, via livestreaming. Encouraged by Liu, Han Wenliang, a university graduate from Qinglong, quit her well-paying job, as an employee with an enterprise in Qinghuangdao, and returned home to start her business online last year. Given Liu's help, Han's business boomed.

During the past year, Liu has provided, free of charge, training to 4,800 rural residents (including 3,300 women) of Qinglong, so they could learn how to operate e-businesses. Given Liu's help, more than 600 women have found work or started their own businesses. Before Liu arrived in Qinglong, the county established nine Taobao (China's largest online shopping platform owned by Alibaba Group) stores. Now, Wuzhishan (a village in Qinglong), alone, has more than 50 Taobao stores.

Liu is pleased to see her efforts — to help farmers (in Qinglong) live better lives –– have yielded fruitful results. She is also pleased she has helped many rural women realize their potential as entrepreneurs. That, in turn, has promoted rural vitalization.


Li Cuifen, 57, a resident of Muma, a village in Qinglong, is grateful to Liu, who asked her to participate in an online activity (held by Taobao in early 2022) to promote the sales of farmers' agricultural products. During the past several months, Li has received more than 1,000 orders for chestnuts from customers (from across the country). More than 99 percent of customers have revisited her Taobao store.

During the past three years, Alibaba Group has sent 27 workers to more than 20 less-developed counties (in various regions of the country). "Rural ombudswomen have advantages in helping rural residents escape poverty through hard work. For example, the women tend to be thoughtful and have a strong affinity, and they have good communication and coordination skills," Liu has been quoted as saying.

She hopes the ombudswomen's experiences in promoting rural vitalization will help guide other counties (in various regions of the country) as they strive to promote rural vitalization.

Qinglong has more than 2,000 certified chestnut trees aged 100 or older. To protect the valuable trees, Liu earlier this year initiated a project, under which residents of Qinglong can provide financial assistance to farmers, so the farmers can use the money to take care of the trees. Liu also asked professors with Hebei Agricultural University and agricultural technicians (dispatched by Alibaba, to provide, free of charge, training to farmers, so they could learn farming and breeding skills) to join her in implementing the project. "Isn't it great the professors and technicians can use scientific and technological knowledge to both protect the old trees, and to help farmers increase chestnut trees' production, so they can increase their families' incomes?" asks Wang Qingcai, head of Liangshuihe, a township in Qinglong.

Liu is pleased an increasing number of residents (of Qinglong) have joined her in helping farmers increase the production of chestnut trees during the past year. "We hope, through our efforts, all residents will live better lives. We also hope more residents will join us in promoting rural vitalization," says Han.

Earlier this year, Qinglong's chestnuts were designated as one of the traditional Chinese foods supplied in Beijing Olympic Village (Winter Paralympic Village). At roughly the same time, Liu was chosen to be a torchbearer during the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games (held in February). "I take pride in becoming a torchbearer for the Olympics. I would not have had the opportunity to relay the torch, had I not worked as a rural ombudswoman in Qinglong," Liu said, during an interview with CCTV (China Central Television), in February.


(Women of China English Monthly November 2022 issue)


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