Town Loses Hyperlink to Future – Ching-Ching Ni
This village on the edge of the Gobi desert entered the 21st century much as it had the previous one, with yellow sand blanketing the mountains and poor farmers sharing their mud huts with cows, donkeys and pigs.
No homes had running water. No shops sold clothes, just bundles of fabric to be sewn into shirts and pants. Donkey carts plied the dusty main street, rarely troubled by the rumble of a motor.
No one in this forgotten section of northwestern China seemed to realize that the nation’s east coast was booming or that dot-coms were changing the world. But then, out of the blue, came an idea ” and a multimillionaire ” that promised to bring prosperity here.
High-tech entrepreneur Sayling Wen heard about the village and decided that by harnessing the power of computers, he could beam its 30,000 inhabitants into the Information Age economy.
Never mind that the Taiwanese tycoon had never laid eyes on the place. He would turn Yellow Sheep River into China’s first “Internet village.”