Branding key to modern agricultural development
An anchor introduces Dangshan pear products as part of a livestreamed event held in the county last year. [Photo by LI LI/FOR CHINA DAILY]
The name of Dangshan, a county in the eastern province of Anhui, is a well-recognized public brand for suli, or crisp pears, the region's main agricultural product. Now, local authorities want to build more competitive individual brands.
The goal is easily explained by the example of Marvel Comics' The Avengers: the group of male and female superheroes is known as a super strong team, while each member is a well-known individual.
"At present, there are few famous individual local brands in Dangshan," said Cao Aiping, deputy director of the county's agriculture bureau.
Local officials said the county has been seeking a path to industrialization that will ensure the sector's continued prosperity.
"Industrialization is key to the future of modern agricultural development. It requires the integration of several main factors－including production, logistics, marketing and finance－but the ultimate goal is to create famous brands," said Xu Jie, a manager with Alibaba.
Xu, who oversees the internet giant's agricultural digitization business, shared his views at a rural vitalization forum held in Dangshan recently. "At the core of industrialization is the creation of competitive brands," he said.
In 2016, realizing that China's expanding middle class was consuming more high-end products, Duan Xuxu started a pear-processing company on a plantation.
"I wanted to grow organic pears in an environmentally friendly way, but I was not successful initially," said the 32-year-old entrepreneur, who later shifted her focus to processing the fruit and creating her own brand.
She said she has been building a tracing system which will provide customers with detailed information about every part of the production process, from the plantation to storage of the final product.
Xu said emerging blockchain technology will better serve such a purpose by not only providing highly detailed information but also making it unalterable to prevent fraud.
Official data show that Dangshan is home to more than 60,000 "ancient" trees, which are defined as those with a history of more than 100 years.
In 2017, Wang Xiaohui retired from the army and started selling pears via e-commerce. Supported by Alibaba's blockchain technology, he has been building a tracing system that enables consumers to view some parts of the production process. The practice helped the 42-year-old generate sales revenue of more than 60 million yuan ($9.2 million) last year.
In the future, the system will allow consumers to observe the entire process, from pears growing on the trees to the delivery of each order, according to Xu.