China approves $22 bn rural net upgrading

Beijing, Oct 15 (IANS) China has unveiled a 140 billion yuan ($22 billion) plan for upgrading its internet infrastructure and the development of its logistics industry in rural areas, the media reported on Thursday.

A meeting of the State Council presided over by Prime Minister Li Keqiang on Wednesday decided to allocate more central government funds to building internet infrastructure and also advocated funding from local governments and social organisations, the China Daily reported.

A circular issued after the meeting said the government plans to invest up to 140 billion yuan in the sector by 2020 to provide at least 50,000 villages with internet access. By then, about 98 percent of the nation’s rural areas will be provided with internet access.

The government also promised to improve internet speed and expand wireless broadband coverage in areas.

Estimates of China’s rural population range from 600 million to 800 million.

The meeting also pledged to expand e-commerce apps in rural areas, especially in promoting agricultural products and trips to the countryside.

The government will also open up the delivery industry to social investors, encourage mergers and acquisitions and streamline customs procedures for cross-border deliveries.

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