About the Author
Yan Xing, Ph.D. in Economics, is an Associate Researcher at the China Institute of Finance and Capital Market (CIFCM), China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC). He is also a Supervisor (Master of Finance) at China Agricultural University (CAU) and an Invited Researcher at the Research Center for Financial Law and Regulation of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) and the Chinese Academy of Financial Inclusion (CAFI).
The digital financial inclusion (DFI) in rural areas is critical to China's rural revitalization strategy during the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025). This paper summarizes four DFI models in rural China and analyzes existing problems and their underlying causes. The study concludes that DFI can reduce transaction costs, promote the innovation of agricultural supply chain, and support the growth of the digital economy in rural areas, but it also has higher demands for digital infrastructure, economic and financial environment, and digital literacy of the target groups. If these demands are not met, it will only broaden the "digital divide", the "ecological divide" and the "education divide" (triple divides) between rural and urban areas, causing new problems such as geographical imbalance, inadequate service, digital financial exclusion, and elevated potential financial risks. Looking ahead, it is imperative to improve the DFI top-level design in rural areas, strengthen the differentiated and targeted incentive mechanisms and science-based supervision system so as to bridge the "triple divides" and achieve the integrated development of the DFI and digital economy in rural areas.
Rural Areas, Financial Inclusion, Digital Financial Inclusion (DFI), Rural Revitalization, Divide
a. DFI background and related problems in rural areas
b. The major DFI models and the evolution in rural China
c. Mechanisms, economic benefits and inherent limitations of DFI in rural areas
d. Major problems affecting DFI in rural China
e. The underlying causes of the "triple divides"
f. The strategic sustainable path for DFI in rural China