A strange symphony of ting-tong sounds echoes through Dong Feng in Jiangsu, roughly 450km north-west of Shanghai, when we arrive. In the background, a snaring sound of power tools cutting and sanding wood. Ting-tong. We are in front of a four-story office building owned by Han Sun, one of Dong Feng’s 4,725 villagers. After a visit to IKEA in Shanghai ten years ago, the thirty-six-year-old Sun set up an online shop in the once-sleepy village, combining IKEA’s flat packing efficiency with more Chinese inspired designs. Sun sells his flat packs through Taobao, Alibaba’s Chinese marriage of Ebay and Amazon. Sun’s immediate success, the first of its kind in Dong Feng, inspired two friends to start their own Taobao shops, also making and selling flat pack furniture. When we arrive in Dong Feng in the spring of 2017, the number of Taobao shops has increased from the initial three to nearly 16,000, with an average density of more than three per capita, the highest in China. Dong Feng used to be home to a few farmers, a modest group of pig breeders, and a local waste recycling industry. Today, it offers more than 35,000 jobs related to Taobao commerce, with a turnover of 493 million RMB (63 million Euro) last Singles' Day, the largest offline and online shopping day in the world. Dong Feng is a Taobao village. Ting-tong.

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