E-commerce helps products on roof of the world go out

Tsochen County, located over 4,700 meters above sea level in Ngari Prefecture, Tibet Autonomous Region, is about 1,079 kilometers from Lhasa, capital of Tibet, and thousands of miles from the more developed coastal regions of China. However, over the last few years, e-commerce has helped products in this remote region go out to the rest of the world.

Tsochen County has several million acres of grassland and an abundance of animal husbandry products. In 2015, the county was incorporated into an experimental program to integrate villages in the national e-commerce system.

Ma Yaolong, county director of the Tibet Ayun E-Commerce Co., Ltd., said, "We have allied with the local government to set up a ‘Tibetan goods connecting with the world' platform, Taobao online stores, and other third-party platforms for Tsochen County."

Locally produced cashmere, Tibetan Snowcock skin care products, and Zhare Namtso Tibetan incense already have high sale flows on the e-commerce platform, and local nomads' handicraft products are also popular.

Ma Yaolong revealed that in 2016, Tsochen County earned more than 13 million yuan (1.9 million US dollars) from online sales, averaging nearly a hundred orders per day. Among these orders, livestock products made 9 million yuan (1.3 million US dollars) in sales and specialty products made nearly 3.744 million yuan (0.555 million US dollars).

In fact, poor transportation conditions and distribution delays in nomadic areas are the bottleneck of e-commerce development in Tibet. To this end, Tashi Tsering, director of the Office of Construction of Market Systems in the Tibet Autonomous Region's Department of Commerce said that as of May this year, experimental counties in the region have constructed five county-level e-commerce public service centers, 15 township-level service stations, 48 village-level service points, and three e-commerce logistics distribution centers.

"Taking Tsochen as an example, by the construction of the distribution center and the integration of  logistics  resources," Tashi Tsering said, "Township (town) postal deliveries are made two to four times per week, bringing the delivery time for online orders and packages from 20 days down to one week."