A fair at Shanghai Everbright Convention and Exhibition Center is exhibiting and selling products from 21 regions partnered with the city in poverty relief, including Yunnan Province, Kashgar in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and Shigatse in Tibet.
The four-day fair that opened on Wednesday showcases several thousand mainly agricultural and related products, such as camellia chicken from Xishuangbanna in Yunnan, yak meat from Guoluo in Qinghai, almonds from Kashgar and highland barley products from Tibet.
Besides the exhibition area, where visitors can buy products, there is also an area for the exhibitors to talk to local buyers, including supermarkets, restaurants and hotels.
The fair aims to promote products and brands from these regions, build up long-term links between producers and the market, help set up physical stores in the city and guide them in online commerce.
Li Shiyi, of the Yi ethnic group in Yunnan’s Chuxiong Prefecture, told Shanghai Daily that she used to work in a hotel in Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu Province, but returned to her hometown when her father was diagnosed with cancer in 2011. After her father died she decided to stay at home to fulfill her father’s wish to establish a livestock farm and started a company the following year.
“Unlike chickens raised in cages, our chickens run in the mountain and fly onto trees, which makes them more healthy and more tasty and safe as food,” she said.
She said it was difficult to sell at first as no one knew her products.
“We sold eggs and chicken only at local regions and fairs like this in Shanghai are helpful for us to know better about the market outside Yunnan and promote our products,” she said, adding that her company has participated in fairs in Shanghai three times and opened online stores to serve customers around the country.
Her company not only makes her a living but also benefits 2,000 households in her hometown.
“Previously, villagers had almost no income and didn’t know how to make money,” she said. “They only reared several chickens and would have to stand on the street for a whole day to sell 10 to 20 eggs. It was very inefficient, and they were not active in rearing chickens.”
But now, Li’s company has professionals teach them how to raise chickens with scientific skills and who go to villages to collect their eggs and chickens so that they can easily make money everyday and don’t have to worry about sales.
Li said cadres from Shanghai have also been visiting local families, changing concepts of villagers and enlightening them with knowledge and skills to make a living rather than waiting for subsidies from the government.
“I’m glad to see that some young people who left to work in big cities have come back and joined the business,” said Li. “Only when young people come back, can our hometown develop better.”
Zi Shaomei, from a tea company, said the fair was impressively efficient in sales and promotions.
“We sold 600,000 yuan (US$84,830) of products last year in the four-day fair, compared to about 2,000 yuan a day in a physical store in Yunnan,” she said.
Shanghai cadres are now trying to help them with online sales.
“We didn’t do well online, selling 600,000 to 800,000 yuan a year,” said Yue Yunze, who works in the company’s e-commerce service center. “We badly need instruction on e-commerce and the Shanghai government will help us connect with local e-commerce platform operators during the fair.”
While assisting these regions to alleviate poverty, Shanghai has been exploring ways to introducing their products to the city, helping them improve production, transport and sales to adapt to the market here.
Shanghai has paired up with 98 counties on the country’s poverty list in seven provinces and has helped 58 to be removed from the list.