Around China: Overcoming the odds, people with disabilities find business opport
HANGZHOU, Sep 05, 2011 (Xinhua via COMTEX) --
Although they face a wide spectrum
of obstacles, a rising number of people with disabilities are finding
success, thanks to the work-from-home opportunities provided by the
country's booming online shopping market.
Chen Xiaoliang, 32, has been paralyzed on his body's right side
since he was 13 when he suffered a stroke. He was once mired in
poverty but now is a self-made businessman running an online store in
Shaoxing City, east Zhejiang Province.
Despite adversity, Chen took the initiative to alter his life by
starting his own business. He borrowed an old computer from a friend,
and after much practice became proficient in typing with his left
With a loan from the Disabled Federation of Shaoxing City, Chen
opened his online shop in 2006, selling health care products on
Taobao.com, China's largest online marketplace.
"The shop has kept me busy all the time, and sometimes I cannot
help but feel exhausted, but it's worth it," Chen said. "The business
is good and, more importantly, it gives me a sense of fulfillment and
The store surpassed 4 million yuan in sales (626,340.75 U.S.
Dollars) last year and has a three-diamond ranking on Taobao.com,
which means it has successfully completed 3,000 deals.
"We've noticed an increasing number of people with disabilities
working online," said Wang Kai, director of the department of social
responsibility of Taobao Company. "For people with mobility problems,
web businesses are a good alternative to the mainstream labor
"For people with disabilities, success of online business serves
not only to fulfill their financial needs, but also, it helps them to
regain their agility, vitality and self-confidence," said Luo Runfa,
an entrepreneur with disability in Shaoxing City.
Born with Fragililis ossium, a rare genetic disease that causes
frequent fractures and bones atrophies, the 48-year-old Luo is less
than one meter tall.
Luo opened a computer training school in 1995, and the school has
won him fame and fortune during the past 16 years.
In 2008, Luo entrusted his school to his subordinates and turned
to the Internet to explore new possibilities. He opened an online
shop on Taobao.com, selling yellow rice wine, a local specialty of
Currently, Luo' s store employs nine workers, among whom five have
disabilities. "Hopefully, after a few years of expansion, I can
provide more jobs for people with disabilities," Luo said.
Compared with able-bodied people, those with disabilities have
some advantages in doing online business because many physically
challenged people develop high levels of patience, determination and
are quick witted, Luo said.
"But people with disabilities remain a vulnerable group who are
in need of help from society when doing web business," Luo said.
Wang Kai said that many people with disabilities who are involved
in online business lack professional knowledge and operational
To cater to the great demand of people with disabilities and other
disadvantaged people, such as the elderly and the poor, Taobao
provides free training projects and preferential policies, according
People with disabilities can apply for free advertising tools that
can help them save up to 400 yuan every month in advertising, and
there are 3,831 entrepreneurs with disabilities who are granted this
At the present, Taobao is giving free entrepreneurial training
courses to disadvantaged people in ten cities of the country. Among
the 10,000 people who are currently covered by this project, about 30
to 40 percent have disabilities.
"Online shopping is opening a new world of opportunities for those
with disabilities, and hopefully, more and more will not only be able
to make a living but also be able to make a fortune through the
Internet," Wang said.
[ Back To TMCnet.com's Homepage ]