Huayuan Village: From impoverished mountain hamlet to thriving model of rural revitalization

By Théophile Niyitegeka
On 9 June 2024 at 12:31

Located in central Zhejiang, Huayuan Village in Nanma Town, Dongyang City, is a remarkable story of transformation and success. Situated 16 kilometers from downtown Dongyang, Huayuan Village has a rich history spanning nearly 700 years. Once known for its poverty before reform and opening-up, with a per capita annual income of only 87 yuan (roughly US$12) in 1978, it has now become a beacon of rural revitalization.

The village originally consisted of 183 households and 496 residents, covering an area of 0.99 square kilometers. In October 2004, Huayuan Village merged with nine neighboring villages, expanding its area to 5 square kilometers.

Further expansion occurred in March 2017 when it merged with nine additional surrounding villages, bringing the total area to 12 square kilometers. Today, Huayuan Village boasts 5,246 farming households, a permanent population exceeding 65,000, and over 50,000 migrants.

The turnaround of Huayuan Village began over 40 years ago with a strong focus on Party building, industrial development, business prosperity, improved living standards, and enhanced governance.

These efforts have transformed the village into a model of thriving industries, livable ecology, rich rural culture, effective governance, and prosperous living standards.

Recognized as a beautiful village exemplar and a pioneer of common prosperity, Huayuan Village has received numerous accolades. On July 1, 2016, the Huayuan Village Party Committee was awarded the title of “National Advanced Grassroots Party Organization” by the Central Committee of the CPC.

The same year, it was named one of the “Top 10 International Famous Villages in China.” In December 2019, it was selected as Zhejiang Province’s only comprehensive pilot for rural revitalization reforms. By October 2020, it was included in the fourth batch of small city cultivation pilots in Zhejiang Province, marking the birth of China’s first “village-level small city.”

Huayuan Village has also made significant strides in tourism. It is the first village in Zhejiang Province to independently create a national AAAA-level tourist attraction. It has been recognized by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism as one of the “Top 10 Excellent International Rural Tourism Destinations in China” and a “National Key Rural Tourism Village.”

Additionally, it is a 5A-level scenic town in Zhejiang Province. The village serves as a training base for village officials in China and an A-level observation site for new rural construction nationwide, earning titles such as “Number One Village in Zhejiang,” “The World’s Top Redwood Village,” and “A Role Model of China’s Rural Modernization.”

Economically, Huayuan Village is thriving. In 2023, it achieved an operating revenue of 72.5 billion yuan (over US$10 billion). The Huayuan Group contributed 42.7 billion yuan (roughly US$5.8 billion), while 3,035 private businesses generated 29.8 billion yuan (more than 4 billion USD). Villagers now enjoy an average annual income of 176,000 yuan (around 24,000 USD).

The village hosts the world’s largest vitamin D3 producer, the world’s widest copper plate manufacturer, a leading new wall material producer in China, a high-performance copper foil producer, and the province’s most intelligent and automated new building material enterprises. It also boasts the world’s largest redwood furniture market, China’s largest precious wood trading center, and the country’s largest village-level hospital, school, shopping mall, and Ferris wheel.

Huayuan Village’s journey from an impoverished mountain hamlet to a thriving, modern community is a testament to the power of dedication, innovation, and community spirit. It stands as a shining example of rural revitalization and a model for other villages to follow.

Recognized as a beautiful village exemplar and a pioneer of common prosperity, Huayuan Village has received numerous accolades.