ZHENGZHOU, March 4 (Xinhua) -- Life has not been easy for Xu Xinsheng, a disabled farmer from the Xihua County in central China's Henan Province. The 37-year-old has been lying in a wheelchair for more than 20 years.
"At the age of eight, he suffered from severe rheumatism and muscle atrophy, and has been unable to move since the age of 12," said his father Xu Zhongxi, noting that his son can only move his right hand slightly.
To cure the son's disease, the family has borrowed over 200,000 yuan (about 29,800 U.S. dollars). For a quite long period of time, Xu's biggest hope was to pay off all the debts and alleviate the burden on his parents.
In 2009, his family got an old computer assembled for him. "It's the first one in my village and I spent a week to learn how to use it," he said.
Disabled though he is, the young man is diligent and curious to learn.
In recent years, e-commerce has been flourishing in China and the idea of invigorating impoverished regions through e-commerce has been on the government's agenda, from which Xu glimpsed hope and opportunities.
In 2011, he opened a store on Taobao, an online platform of the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba and started selling women's wear, cosmetics and thermal underwear.
To manage his online business, Xu has to endure the pain and spend much strength on controlling the computer with a lengthened touch-screen pen, a mouse and a mouse pad fastened on his left arm.
"The revenue was meager at the beginning since I had no experience," he said. "But later, I started to sell local specialties such as spicy soup and noodles made of sweet potato starch, and the business got better and better."
In 2017, Xu hired two young men from his village as helpers with his business expanding. Now, combined profits from his online stores on several e-commerce platforms can reach 30,000 yuan each month, and Xu himself has become a famous "e-commerce celebrity" in the county.
"There's no other secrets to success rather than offer proper products and manage the business in an orderly fashion," Xu told young people from nearby villages asking for advice on e-commerce business.
Xu's father still cannot figure out how his son is making money, but he is very content with what Xu has achieved. "Our life gets better day by day," he said.
The success of e-commerce business has helped the family pay off all the debts and build a three-floor house.
For Xu, e-commerce remains a promising sector, with a soaring online demand for farm produce.
This year, he plans to make sausages and promote local produce online. "I'm thinking about opening a food processing factory, and I'll be satisfied if that can create jobs for dozens of people," Xu said.
Staying indoors all the year long, Xu longs for a look at the outside world. "The world is so big, and I want to go out and have a look," he said. "This year, I hope that I can earn more, buy a car and take my family out for a trip."