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Revisiting Guizhou after 22 years

By WANG KEJU and YANG JUN in Guiyang | chinadaily.com.cn| Updated: 2017-12-22 Print

Digital development

Connolly speaks during a discussion with Huamao villagers. SONG WEI/ CHINA DAILY

Saying goodbye to the serene rural landscape, the foreign experts discovered the digital side of the province.

The Guiyang Big Data Exchange, in the provincial capital, is the first of its kind in China. It started operations in April 2015, and so far 2,000 member companies have exchanged and traded data-related assets and services, generating revenue of more than $45 million.

"I was really surprised to witness the transformation of Guizhou's capital from relative poverty to a technology hub that has attracted thousands of tech-savvy entrepreneurs. This is turning Guiyang into a magnet for talent and attracting more young people who want to settle here," Connolly said.

"The big data industry is a perfect opportunity for Guizhou to develop its economy without introducing polluting industries, helping its poorer residents to shake off poverty."

Guizhou's authorities have raised nearly 7.8 million people out of poverty in the past five years, but 3.72 million in the rural areas still live below the poverty line of 2,300 yuan in annual income.

For the next five years the province will set its average annual economic growth target at about 10 percent, and will also work to eradicate poverty for 3.7 million people by 2020, according to Pan Feng, deputy director of the Guiyang Cyberspace Administration.

Connolly said: "It goes without saying that to understand the history and development of modern China, one has to go back to the basics. By 'the basics', I mean learning about small cities and villages such as Zunyi, Huamao and Guoba in Guizhou.

"These are some of the places where we can learn the lessons of poverty alleviation, and also learn about the spirit and determination of residents, especially villagers who embody the Chinese spirit."

When he visited the province in 2015, President Xi was quoted as saying: "A good life is created with one's own hands, so poverty is nothing to fear. If we have determination and confidence, we can overcome any difficulties."

While there are still considerable challenges to overcome in the reduction of rural poverty across Guizhou, the determination of the local people means the province is certain to achieve its goals.


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