The digital agricultral demonstration zone in Lianhua town in Qujiang district of Quzhou, Zhejiang. [Photo provided to]

Livestreaming — and digital technology in general —have been propelling more agricultural enterprises toward new production and sales models in Quzhou, a farming owerhouse in western Zhejiang province.

Quzhou’s Kecheng district invited some internet celebrities to host an event dedicated to livestream marketing on the e-commerce platform Taobao from Jan 23 to 25, in a bid to sell sweet oranges. The three-day gala drove sales of Quzhou oranges to 220 metric tons, according to district authorities.

Kecheng district will recommend other agricultural products from Quzhou via Douyin — an online short-video platform — and from Pinduoduo, e-commerce apps and other livestream platforms.

In another development, the Quzhou government signed a strategic cooperation agreement in early August with Hema Fresh, a fresh food chain backed by e-commerce giant Alibaba, to create a digital agriculture demonstration zone.

The zone will include an agricultural product processing and distribution center, an aquatic vegetable base and a fruit and vegetable base.

Located in the city’s Qujiang district, the agricultural products processing and distribution center began operating in November. It covers 12,000 square meters and has six production lines supported by a total investment of 8 million yuan ($1.1 million).

The fruit and vegetable base, the key part of the digital zone, is home to 69.53 hectares of vegetables in 11 different categories. The second phase of planting was completed in December, and its third phase is set to end before August 30 this year.

The digital agricultral demonstration zone in Lianhua town in Qujiang district of Quzhou, Zhejiang. [Photo provided to]

The demonstration zone is expected to implement quality control and management of agricultural products based on Alibaba’s big data technology and Hema Fresh standards and digital technology, said Du Weirong, director of the Qujiang District Bureau of Agriculture and Rural Affairs.

“Hema Fresh will use Alibaba’s strengths in digital technology to help upgrade Quzhou’s traditional agriculture from the perspective of production, supply and sales,” said Hou Yi, CEO of Hema Fresh.

As of the end of November, more than 90 agricultural varieties produced in Quzhou could be purchased via the Hema Fresh platform, generating monthly sales of more than 4 million yuan.

In the future, Qujiang district will cooperate with Hema to build a 3,300-hectare digital agricultural cooperation base throughout the region, and will subsequently build a processing logistics base and an airport logistics base.

Cai Jingwen contributed to the story