ISSUES2017 No.4
Editor’s Note: During the accelerating urbanization in the past decades, when urban China saw great prosperity in the form of increasing demography, large-scale construction, continuous urban expansion, etc., the development of rural China remained in relative stagnation, or even drawback in certain aspects, which is represented by the phenomena of shrinking demography, disappearing villages, humble living conditions, and slow economic growth. There might be many reasons for this unbalanced urban-rural development during the process of rapid urbanization, and the urban-rural dual system is undoubtedly the primary among them. It differentiates the urban and rural areas of China from each other, by implementing different systems of household management and land management, institutionally blocking the free flow of people and land, the two key productions factors, between the urban and rural areas within a unified market environment. Set up since the 1950s under the circumstance of planned economy, it has played far-reaching influences on China’s socio-economic development and is still in effect today under the circumstance of socialist market economy, in spite of a series of critical transformations after the country’s reform and opening up. However, the quick and broad expansion of the Internet in China, from urban areas to rural areas, as both information technology and infrastructure, has built up an open and free platform of flows between the urban and rural areas. Together with the construction of traditional infrastructure including road, electricity, and so on, it brings farmers in rural areas with possibilities of attracting more production factors, such as investments through e-financing, and developing new industries, such as trading through e-commerce. As each advancement of modern technologies has greatly promoted the world’s process of urbanization since the Industrial Revolution, the broad application of Internet technology may bring new opportunities to rural China for modernization, a potentiality that can be proved by the rapid and successful growth of a number of Taobao villages all over the country in recent years.

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