Text by Ding Ge Photos courtesy of Wang Xiaobang
“With an Internet Connection, My Store Opens”
Wang Zhiqiang, a farmer from Luliang mountainous area in northern China’s Shanxi Province, picked “Wang Xiaobang” as his screen name when opening his online shop, “Villager’s Best Stuff”, on China’s top online retailer Taobao. The reason he chose the name was simple: “Bang” means “help” in Chinese, and “Xiaobang” can mean “lend a hand.” “I wanted to invite city dwellers to try food produced in rural areas, and hoped to assist them in finding some in my village,” he recalled.
His honesty, simplicity, and hospitality quickly made his shop a favorite with customers, and his sales volume increased steadily. Gradually, Wang became wealthy through the internet, a phenomenon his fellow villagers had never seen before.
During the 2008 Spring Festival, Wang wrote an article about his experience titled Computer, Internet Connection, Camera, and Motorcycle: I Am An Online Entrepreneur and posted it online. The article was quickly republished on many websites, and won Wang the First Taobao Entrepreneurial Pioneering Award. Since then, Wang has been a media darling.
While Wang and his local grain shop were gaining popularity, his decision to diversify and add a wider range of products brought a sharp increase in his shop’s sales volume. At present, more than 60 varieties of products can be found in Wang’s shop, including locally produced grains, agricultural products and handmade specialties. During the busy season, Wang pays an average of 1,000 yuan a day just for shipping at the post office. Annually, shipping costs him around 300,000 yuan. In a normal year, he sells 30 tons of millet, 10 tons of soy beans, 20,000 kilograms of walnuts, and 20 tons of Chinese red dates, with annual sales volume reaching nearly three million yuan.
Presently, Wang is considering expanding the capacity and scale of his grain business, and he hopes to “lend a hand” to his fellow villagers seeking wealth.