When you bite into an apple from the Chinese county of Luochuan, it’s a special experience. The apples grown in Luochuan are crunchy, juicy, fragrant with a smooth skin, and are both sweet and sour in perfect balance.
Known as the “Apple city of China,” Luochuan is located high above sea level, gets sufficient rain during the summer and is blessed with abundant sunshine. All these factors make Luochuan’s natural environment ideal for growing apples.
The prominence of Luochuan in China as a production powerhouse for apples is seen in the fact that it has become the permanent site of the China Shaanxi International Apple Expo, the largest apple festival in China.
The roots of apple farming in Luochuan began in 1947, when a villager named Li Xin’an brought 200 apple seedlings back to Luochuan on a donkey. Li experimented with the seedlings on his wheat field and started the first apple farm in Luochuan. In the 1990s, farmers in Luochuan started to plant apples on a large scale and now over 95% of farmers in the county plant apples.
According to Zhang Jidong, the head of Luochuan county, every family in Luochuan has a car and 10% of residents have over 200,000 yuan ($30,600) in annual income while 60% make over 100,000 yuan every year. “The apple industry has helped the people in Luochuan shake off poverty and become prosperous. The Luochuan apple is a fruit of happiness and richness,” Zhang said.
Every apple from Luochuan is grown according to set rules. To ensure that every Luochuan apple is healthy, green and organic, the Luochuan farmers follow the “Yan’an Luochuan apple technical specification” in China, which standardizes 16 processes such as seedling cultivation, standardized production, storage and transportation.
Through e-commerce platforms like Pinduoduo, Luochuan farmers has been able to sell their apples across China and over 30 other countries in regions such as Europe, Middle East, Southeast Asia, North America and Russia, exporting nearly 1,000 ton of apples.
Luochuan apple farmers have been using Pinduoduo’s “group buy and direct delivery from the place of origin” model to sell online successfully. On the consumer side, Pinduoduo gathers the scattered and occasional demand through team purchases, providing the Luochuan apple farmers with stable, long-term orders. On the production side, Pinduoduo’s model replaces multilevel distribution with direct delivery from the place of origin. This model helps customers to pay less and the farmers to earn more.
On 27 September 2020, Pinduoduo worked with Wei Yan’an, director of the Shan’xi Fruit Industry Center during a livestreamed webcast that showcased Luochuan apples.
Wei promoted Luochuan apples by talking about the apple’s history and the advantages of growing apples in Luochuan to over 935,000 viewers. The webcast helped boost the overall sales of Luochuan apples by over 210% year on year.
“It’s highly recommended that young men give Luochuan apples as gifts on Christmas Eve.” said Wei, forcing open a Luochuan apple to viewers with a laugh. “You can break them open with your hands on the spot to show your sincerity with sweet and crisp Luochuan apples.”