In 2009, clusters of rural online entrepreneurs who have opened shops on Taobao Marketplace, which are referred to as “Taobao Villages,” began to emerge in China. The first farming village to take up e-commerce on a large scale was Dongfeng Village in Shaji Town, Jiangsu Province, where more than 1,000 households had joined the digital economy by getting involved in furniture production and selling their finished goods online. Two other Taobao Villages also emerged in Hebei Province and Zhejiang Province, respectively, in the same year. Since then, the number of Taobao Villages has been on the rise, and those villages have become a significant force behind the development of rural e-commerce in China.
Definition of a “Taobao Village (淘宝村)”:
As defined by AliResearch, Alibaba Group’s research arm, a Taobao Village is a cluster of rural e-tailers within an administrative village where:
Emergence of “Taobao Towns (淘宝镇)”:
In some rural areas, e-commerce is gaining sufficient scale to lead to the formation of bigger clusters of rural e-tailers. These bigger clusters are referred to as “Taobao Towns” and a “Taobao Town” is defined as a town, township or street that comprises at least three Taobao Villages. The first batch of 19 “Taobao Towns” came into being in 2014.
NEW DEVELOPMENTS IN 2015
The following facts and figures are extracted from the 2015 China Taobao Villages Research Report (2015年中国淘宝村研究报告) developed by AliResearch:
Statistics at a glance:
780 Taobao Villages
200,000+ active online shops
17 provinces and municipalities
71 Taobao Towns
25 Taobao Village Clusters
Geographic distribution of Taobao Villages
|No. of Taobao Villages||No.||Province/
|No. of Taobao Villages|
* Italics highlight provinces/municipalities that made the list for the first time.
Meanwhile, the number of Taobao Towns grew 274% to 71 as of the end of 2015, compared with 19 as of the end of 2014.
Geographic distribution of Taobao Towns
|No.||Province||No. of Taobao Villages||No.||Province||No. of Taobao Villages|
|Ranking||Product category||Ranking||Product category|
|4||Automobile accessories||9||Outdoor products|
|5||Bags, luggage and leather products||10||Home improvement materials|
Products sold by Taobao Villages are becoming increasingly diversified. Many villages specialize in unique products such as honey, musical instruments, ceramics, purple clay teapots and silverware.
Taobao Village Clusters formed by 30 or more neighboring Taobao Villages are referred to as “Mega Taobao Village Clusters (大型淘宝村集群).” Among the 25 Taobao Village Clusters that emerged in 2015, Yiwu and Cao County were considered Mega Taobao Village Clusters.
Top 10 Taobao Village Clusters
|No.||District / County||City||No. of Taobao Villages|
* Italics signify Mega Taobao Village Clusters.
The reasons behind this development include:
Editor’s note: This information is current as of January 2016.