Liu Shuai

  Adhering to the integrated development of urban and rural areas is one of the basic principles for implementing the rural revitalization strategy.

Recently, the Central Cyberspace Administration of China and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs issued the "Digital Rural Development Action Plan (2022-2025)", which clearly pointed out that efforts should be made to develop the rural digital economy and adhere to overall coordination and urban-rural integration.

It is foreseeable that the digital economy will strongly promote the integrated development of urban and rural areas.

  In recent years, my country's digital economy has developed rapidly and has been widely used in the field of "agriculture, rural areas and farmers", bringing new opportunities for the integrated development of urban and rural areas.

For example, with the development of rural e-commerce, a number of distinctive rural e-commerce product brands have been formed one after another, and the sales channels of agricultural and sideline products have been greatly expanded.

For another example, the development of digital inclusive finance in rural areas improves the convenience of farmers’ payment, reduces transaction costs, and in turn promotes consumption. It also provides more flexible financial services for agricultural production and eases financing difficulties.

It can be said that the digital economy has strongly promoted the rapid development of the rural economy, providing an important force for narrowing the urban-rural gap and promoting the integrated development of urban and rural areas.

  However, we must also see that there are still some shortcomings and problems in the development of the rural digital economy that need to be overcome.

At present, the 4G coverage rate of administrative villages across the country exceeds 98%, but it is still relatively backward in new-generation information technology facilities such as 5G and gigabit optical fiber networks.

Special groups such as rural left-behind people and the elderly have a low degree of acceptance of new things such as information technology, and some people are still unable to adapt to digital life.

The rural logistics distribution system and online sales system still need to be improved.

In addition, the shortage of talents, the unsmooth flow of urban and rural elements, and the unreasonable allocation of public resources also restrict the development of urban-rural integration.

  The digital economy plays a significant role in promoting the integrated development of urban and rural areas, and there is great promise in promoting rural revitalization.

To develop the rural digital economy and promote the integration of urban and rural areas, multiple measures should be taken to make up for the shortcomings.

  First, speed up the construction of information infrastructure in rural areas.

Information infrastructure is an important foundation for the development of the digital economy.

It is necessary to promote the optimization and upgrading of rural information infrastructure, promote the extension of new-generation information infrastructure such as 5G and gigabit optical fibers to rural areas, and at the same time, promote the digital transformation of traditional infrastructure such as rural roads, power grids, and water networks.

  Second, innovate the rural circulation service system.

The important application of the digital economy lies in the combination of online and offline. Data elements are mainly transmitted through online forms such as information technology, while traditional elements still rely on offline media.

At present, it is still necessary to deepen the popularity of rural postal and express delivery outlets, and accelerate the construction of a number of smart logistics distribution centers.

Establish and improve the rural logistics joint distribution service specification and operation mechanism, speed up the construction of the rural delivery logistics system, and better open up and expand the "last mile" of rural logistics.

  Third, improve the information literacy of special populations in rural areas.

The first is to provide precise digital service assistance for special groups such as the elderly in rural areas, left-behind children and women.

The second is to carry out information technology talents going to the countryside, strengthen the popularization of digital knowledge among special groups in rural areas, give full play to the roles of the first secretary and university student village officials, strengthen the training of farmers' information literacy, and enhance farmers' awareness and skills of network security protection.

The third is to encourage Internet companies to develop information terminals that adapt to the characteristics of "agriculture, rural areas and farmers", and promote the aging and barrier-free transformation of Internet applications.

  Fourth, implement rural digital governance and promote the modernization of rural governance systems and governance capabilities.

Promote the extension of "Internet + government services" to rural areas, and incorporate rural digital governance into the national integrated online government service platform.

Improve the informatization level of village affairs, party affairs, and asset management, promote the timely disclosure of village-level affairs, and promote the modernization of rural governance capabilities and the integration of urban and rural governance.

  Fifth, make overall plans to promote the integrated development of urban and rural informatization.

When regulating the digital economy and formulating development standards, we should adhere to overall design, unified standards, simultaneous implementation, and coordinated progress.

Digital village construction cannot simply replicate the practice of smart city construction, but should gradually integrate, share and utilize information resources through the interconnection of platforms, so as to realize the interconnection of urban and rural information infrastructure and the free flow of data element resources.

  (Author: Peking University New Rural Development Research Institute)

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