NANCHANG, May 3 (Xinhua) -- Search, order and pay. With a simple click on a mobile phone, Zou Ping gets the fresh vegetables and meat she has ordered at her doorstep.
Zou, an office lady in Nanchang, capital of eastern China's Jiangxi Province, is among a growing number of Chinese consumers who choose to buy fresh vegetables online instead of in physical markets.
"My husband and I both work late, and the nearby markets close when we return from work," Zou said. "Mobile apps solved our problem. Besides convenience, the vegetables and meat are also pretty fresh."
Purchasing vegetables online has become a new trend for working Chinese. According to Xiong Bin, vice president of Eleme, a leading takeaway-ordering app in China, the company has cooperated with fresh food platforms and traditional vegetable markets, allowing users to buy vegetables online in over 100 major cities.
The overall fresh food business of Eleme grew 10 fold over the past year.
"The average age of our vegetable consumers is around 29, and half of them are working people. Meanwhile, last year the number of middle-aged and elderly vegetable consumers surged 500 percent year on year," Xiong said.
The reshaping vegetable market has also brought opportunities to traditional vendors.
Tu Lanlan, 30, has run a vegetable stall in a market in Nanchang for years. She began to sell vegetables through a mobile app in April last year, as she noticed the competition was getting increasingly fierce offline.
Tu's online market is open from 6 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., the same as her stall in the physical market. "The online business is especially popular during bad weather," she said.
She also provides additional services like peeling potatoes if asked by her customers. "This has helped me win many regular customers."
Chen Depu, a 50-year-old vegetable vendor in Nanchang, started selling vegetables online last year. He can earn an extra income of thousands of yuan a month.
"When I receive an order, I will prepare the vegetables as soon as possible. Then delivery men will drop off the vegetables right to the doorsteps of my customers," Chen said.
He has attracted a lot of online customers from nearby residential communities. His success also drives more vegetable vendors in the market to go online.
Statistics from Eleme showed that about 70 vegetable markets in Nanchang launched takeaway services over the past year. A citizen from Xihu District stood out among all online customers by making 286 orders, most of which were for ginger, garlic and sweet potatoes.
Xiong said the number of online stall keepers has increased to almost 200 last year compared to no more than 10 in 2017, and the orders have grown over 29 fold.
Besides Eleme, e-commerce platform JD.com and some supermarkets such as RT-Mart also provide vegetable delivery services, which offers more choices for citizens.
"We plan to expand our online vegetable shopping business to 500 cities in the future," Xiong said.