Over 5.7m rural Chinese return from cities to start businesses

BEIJING • More than 5.7 million rural Chinese have returned from cities to their home towns to start up businesses, said Vice-Minister of Agriculture Chen Xiaohua.

Among them, 4.5 million people are rural migrant workers who used to work in urban areas away from home, while the rest are mainly fresh graduates and retired soldiers who left home for education or service, he told reporters.

Meanwhile, rural China has attracted 1.3 million urban people, including scientists and technicians, from their homes in cities to participate in rural entrepreneurship, Mr Chen said on Thursday.

The data was released after the government produced a set of guidelines earlier this week encouraging people to explore business opportunities in the countryside.

By rolling out a number of new support policies, the government expects migrants to the countryside to inject new energy into the rural economy and increase farmers' incomes by introducing modern technology, systems and management.

New agribusinesses, including large-scale farming, farm-produce processing, leisure agriculture, rural tourism, as well as producer and consumer services, are priorities of the policy support.

The move also aims to trigger a return of people to the countryside, where many children and the elderly are left at home by adults who sought work in cities, Mr Chen said.

The government has been trying to find ways to stem the influx into increasingly crowded urban areas.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 03, 2016, with the headline 'Over 5.7m rural Chinese return from cities to start businesses'. Print Edition | Subscribe