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Country road a financial boon in Zhejiang

By Ma Zhenhuan in Hangzhou| chinadaily.com.cn| Updated: August 11, 2022 L M S


An aerial photo shows Xumin village in Ningbo, Zhejiang province. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Zhuxu Road in Ningbo, Zhejiang province, played a key role in helping Xumin village escape poverty and achieve common prosperity.

The village in the city's Ninghai county was established during the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279) and is home to nearly 300 stone buildings constructed before 1949. The buildings are scattered along the mountains, creating unique scenery.

"Despite the beautiful landscape, the village was abandoned before the road was built," recalled Dai Shen, Party secretary of Xumin village. "Most residents left home to find work, and the village was stuck in a rut because of the loss of labor."


Tourists walk along a stone-paved road in Xumin village of Ningbo, Zhejiang province. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

In 2004, construction of the 4-kilometer Zhuxu Road was completed. The road connected the undeveloped village to major roads and brought new hope to the people.

After its road opened, village officials began to create a scenic area. Unused buildings, such as factories and barns, were converted into restaurants and bars, which have become popular with visitors.

Residents are also involved in the village's Rural Vitalization Through Art project, and many natives are returning to start their own businesses.

Ye Jiansheng is among them. In 2016, Ye quit his job and returned to the village, where he started a farm homestay business.


An aerial photo shows Zhuxu Road in Ningbo, Zhejiang province. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

"Unlike the older generation — people who had to leave home for work — we can make money at home, as many visitors are coming now that there's a road," Ye said.

Efforts to promote the local tourism industry are ongoing. In 2017, Ninghai county spent more than 7 million yuan ($1 million) on renovating Zhuxu Road, adding more decorative greenery alongside, for example.

In 2021, more than 500,000 people visited the village. The average annual income of villagers was increased from 3,460 yuan in 2006 to 37,000 yuan in 2021.