A few years ago, most of the 2,000 or so villagers in Donggaozhuang, northern China, were struggling to put food on the table by growing wheat and corn. Now, dozens of them are millionaires and more on well on their way of making six-figure fortunes after switching to selling yarn online.
Donggaozhuang’s success story started with the idea of one villager, who set up an e-shop on Taobao, China’s largest online commerce platform, to sell yarn. Things went way better than he had anticipated, and in just three months, he made a profit of $2,900, a small fortune, considering that the highest minimum wage in China is currently around $330 per month. Word of his booming business spread like wildfire around Donggaozhuang, and the village elders soon approached the man, asking him to teach other members of the community how to set up their own online businesses.
Since yarn had worked so well for Donggaozhuang’s first online entrepreneur, everyone followed in his footsteps and they all started making money. Realizing the potential of their businesses, many sold their lands and put their farming days behind them to focus solely on their e-shops. They started buying wool, turning it into yarn and selling that on Taobao.
Photo: Beijing Youth Daily
Today, Donggaozhuang is home to over 400 Taobao e-shop owners, all of which sell yarn online. A few dozens of them are millionaires, and the rest are doing a lot better than when they were slaving in the fields, planting and harvesting crops. The yarn trade has been going so well that many children in the village have quit school in order to help their families manage their businesses.
So if you’re looking for a profitable venture, selling yarn online seems to work pretty well.
But Donggaozhuang isn’t the only rural success story to come out of China. A couple of years ago, we wrote about Nanliu, a small village in Shaanxi province that became known as “China’s stock trading village“, after many local farmers switched to trading stocks online. And then there’s Huaxi, China’s richest village, where every villager is a shareholder of the profitable local industry and has a net worth of over $100,000.