An under-upper coordinated development logic and tendency of rural e-business in an evolutionary perspective

CUI Kai1,2 FENG Xian3

(1.School of Public Policy & Management, Tsinghua University)
(2.China Institute for Rural Studies, Tsinghua University)
(3.Beijing Research Center for Information Technology in Agriculture)

【Abstract】The development of rural e-business is driven by grassroots initiatives and government promotion, which shows evolutionary characteristics in the sense of economics. This paper examined the development logic and trend of rural e-business from the theoretical perspective of evolutionary economics and took Taobao villages as examples. The results showed that the emergence of rural e-business depended on the learning-cost difference between individual entrepreneurial farmers and the group average. The expansion in the scale of rural e-business was determined by the market selection and cost optimization. The behavioral diversity among individuals could be regarded as an endogenous power for the transformation of e-businessmen. Two important factors for the development of rural e-business were information acquisition channels and online market-demand change. The evolution of rural e-business was presented in an under-upper coordinated form that combined internal logic, namely, access—diffusion—selection—variation—access, with external conditions. With the elaboration of e-business service system and customization of demand service, the aspects of service, talents and products should become priorities and the foci in the future.

【Keywords】 evolutionary economics; rural e-business; performance form; development logic;


【Funds】 the Young Scientists Fund of the National Social Science Fund Youth Project (17CXW030)

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(Translated by ZHANG Yan)


    [1]. ① Regular Press Conference of the Ministry of Commerce (January 25, 2018), [^Back]

    [2]. ② Ali Research Institute, 2017, Research Report on China’s Taobao Village (2017), [^Back]

    [3]. ① The criteria to certify Taobao Village are as follows. ① The administrative village is taken as the unit of the transaction field. ② The annual transaction volume of village e-commerce is more than CNY 10 million. ③ The number of active online stores in the village is more than 100 or accounts for over 10% of the number of local households. The number of Taobao villages in an area reflects the development of local rural e-commerce. [^Back]

    [4]. ② [^Back]

    [5]. ① This paper puts forward the upper-down coordination of rural e-commerce. It is an analysis based on literature review as well as a summary of actual performance, including grass-roots development and government promotion. Its internal logic and external conditions involved in will be discussed in detail later. [^Back]

    [6]. ① Adaptability in biology indicates the survival or the reproduction ability of an individual or group in a certain environment, and it is commonly used in social science to describe the growth ability of an individual or a group under certain conditions. [^Back]

    [7]. ① In order to keep consistent with the previous formula, S means the learning cost; xi represents the number of individuals; MS and LAS represent the marginal learning cost and the long-term average learning cost, respectively. [^Back]

    [8]. ① At the national level, the numbers of Taobao villages in Suqian City of the northern part of Jiangsu Province, Xuzhou City and Heze City in the southwestern part of Shandong Province have grown in scale, which is enlightening to the rural changes brought about by e-commerce in these underdeveloped regions. The research group focused on Taobao villages in Shuyang County of Suqian City in Jiangsu Province, Suining County in Xuzhou City of Jiangsu Province and Caoxian County of Heze County in Shandong Province. The samples include Dongfeng Village and Zhumiao Village in Shaji Town of Suining County, Xinhuai Village and Zhoujuan Village in Xinhe Town of Shuyang County, Yanxia Village in Yanji Town of Shuyang County, and Dinglou Village of Daji Town in Cao County. Meanwhile, the typical cases from other regions are also included in the case analysis below to make it more representative. [^Back]

    [9]. ① Data source: [^Back]


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This Article


CN: 11-1262/F

Vol , No. 03, Pages 29-44

March 2018


Article Outline



  • 1 Introduction
  • 2 Literature review
  • 3 Model deduction: a framework based on evolutionary economics
  • 4 Case study: the practice of Taobao villages
  • 5 Further exploration: trend of rural e-commerce
  • 6 Conclusions and enlightenment
  • Footnote