China's poverty-stricken counties see online retail sales rise 26%

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Online retail sales, an important force in the fight against poverty, jumped 26 percent year on year to total 301.45 billion yuan (about 46.49 billion U.S. dollars) across China's 832 national-level poverty-stricken counties last year, the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) said on Thursday.

In the fourth quarter, the impoverished counties saw online retail sales surge 30.4 percent from a year earlier to 94.57 billion yuan, MOC spokesperson Gao Feng told a regular press conference.

The counties were home to about 3.07 million online retailers at the end of last year, up 13.7 percent from the end of 2019, said Gao.

Online retail sales in the services sector including catering service and tourism have returned to pre-epidemic levels, he said.

Online sales of agricultural products from the 832 impoverished counties surged 43.5 percent to 40.66 billion yuan last year. The growth rate was 14.6 percentage points higher than the growth rate in 2019, data from the ministry shows.

China vowed to eliminate absolute poverty by the end of last year, 10 years ahead of the schedule for poverty-eradication set by the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. 

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