FUZHOU, May 8 (Xinhua) -- Online retail sales of agricultural products grew by 33.8 percent to reach 230.5 billion yuan (34.06 billion U.S. dollars) in 2018, said an official report issued on Wednesday on digital trends that are sweeping rural China.
The report by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs said the digital economy accounted for 7.3 percent of China's agricultural output in 2018, an increase of 0.8 percentage point over the previous year.
Tang Ke, who heads the ministry's market and economic information department, said smart farming has taken shape and information technologies have been widely applied in agricultural production. Big data, in particular, is increasingly used to guide decision making, farm management and marketing of agricultural products.
He said 272,000 farmer-benefiting information centers had been established nationwide by the end of 2018, providing information services, policy inquiry and IT skill training in rural areas.
The rural information centers are among China's recent efforts to improve rural access to information and communication technologies so as to narrow the urban-rural divide.
The official said China plans to promote the construction of such centers, with a focus on impoverished areas, to cover half of the country's administrative villages by the end of this year.
The report was released during the second Digital China Summit, which highlights the latest information technologies that have swept through the country's government, industries and society. The three-day summit concluded on Wednesday in eastern China's Fujian Province.