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Business

Alibaba to help a million teenagers set up online businesses

E-commerce giant Alibaba plans to train a million teenagers in rural China to help launch their own online businesses, according to the country's official Xinhua news agency. It'll provide funding and partnerships.

E-commerce giant Alibaba plans to train a million teenagers in rural China to help launch their own online businesses, according to the country's official Xinhua news agency.

The Chinese online retailer signed an agreement with the Communist Youth League in southwest China's Guizhou Province to provide funding, training and partnership to rural youth.

Alibaba's Internet finance arm Ant Financial plans to invest 1 billion yuan - close to €140 million ($155 million) - to support college graduates who wish to return to their home provinces to become entrepreneurs.

China's leadership has strongly championed e-commerce, and has pushed for its spread in rural areas. Service stations have been established in villages to aid those who don't have the requisite skills to buy and sell via the Internet. Villagers can order products at the stations and return later to collect their purchases.

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Chinese e-commerce taps into rural markets

Online retail boom

The number of such service stations has been rising fast - from three in 2009 to 780, with a further 100,000 village stations and 1,000 county stations by 2019, in an investment expected to cost around 10 billion yuan (around €1.4 billion).

Premier Li Kequiang included the expansion of online retailing when he laid out his "Internet Plus" strategy in a speech last week during China's annual parliamentary meeting in Beijing.

Figures published by the state-run news agency showed that online sales in China's rural areas grew at double the pace of cities. One third of all online shoppers are from rural areas, and they spent around 195 million yuan last year.

jd/hg (Reuters, Xinhua)

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