Since January 2004, the Ministry of Industry and Information
Technology of the People’s Republic of China has been carrying out the
Cun Cun Tong, or Village Connected Project. As the venture draws to a
close, Wang Zhen Jian, Director of the Wenzhou Municipal Bureau of
Informatisation, spoke to FutureGov about what’s been achieved so far.
More than three million farmers have benefited from the RMB 200 billion (US$30
million) project and village connectedness has been achieved, said
Wang. There is a 29 per cent discrepancy between the internet
penetration rates in urban and rural China, and the objective of Cun
Cun Tong is to reach out and care for the rural community via
This has been done through a number of ways.
“By introducing Information and Communication Technologies (ICT)
to the rural community in China, farmers are able to use the internet
as a platform to sell their produce. They can advertise their products
online and attract buyers in this manner,” he said. The internet has
also opened doors to a multitude of information on weather forecasts,
market trends and up-to-date pricing data for agricultural products
Through partnerships with companies like China Mobile, which adopted
the Village Connected Project as part of its Corporate Social
Responsibility (CSR) efforts, three types of
networks have been set up – the Basic Infrastructure Network, Rural
Information Network and Network of Rural Sales Channels.
By establishing Rural Information terminals across the provinces,
messages pertaining to crop distribution in Winter, pest control and
disaster prevention have also been sent to farmers. The government
hopes to build a “New Countryside” with the expansion of network
coverage and introduction of modern telecommunications and information
services to remote areas.
This goal is being achieved step by step, said Wang. China Mobile’s
efforts alone, for example, has improved telecommunications coverage in
99.8 per cent of China’s administrative villages and 93 per cent of
natural villages across 27 provinces. In 2009, there was an average of
33,000 calls per day on the Rural Information hotline service and
approximately 700,000 hits on the Rural Information Network website set
up by China Mobile across the nation.
The next step, said Wang, is to implement the Nong Xing 121 Project,
which seeks to build upon the foundation of the Village Connected
Project and improve on it. This initiative will focus on two areas,
namely communications related to farming and the management of
information in villages, he said.