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October 30, 2019

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Unleashing consumption potential

As consumption continues to be the main engine of China’s economic growth, the country is stepping up efforts to create a favorable environment to further unleash its potential.

Consumption contributed 60.5 percent to China’s economic growth in the January-September period, with services consumption accounting for 50.6 percent of the final consumption expenditure by consumers.

“Hot areas in services consumption frequently emerge and the innovation capability of sectors including culture, education, tourism, sports, elderly care and the home services is constantly improving,” said Chen Lifen, an official of the Ministry of Commerce.

A guideline issued by the MOC and other departments this month stressed developing a series of new platforms for international products and services consumption and promoting new formats in cultural sectors, including fashion and creative industries, to unlock the potential of services consumption.

In five years, cities with potential can work to grow into international consumption centers and become engines to help upgrade the industrial structure and boost economic growth, according to the guideline.

Building megacities into international consumption centers can better meet consumers’ demand for international high-end products, retaining domestic consumption and boosting consumption upgrading, said Wang Wei, director of the market economy research institute at Development Research Center of the State Council.

Massive consumption potential can also be unleashed from consumption “backflow” as outbound tourism topped the world in 2018 with a spending of US$277.3 billion in foreign countries, up 5.2 percent year on year, according to the World Tourism Organization.

To win back overseas consumption, the country can leverage the duty-free store policies and raise the quality of domestic products and services by aligning its own standards with international ones, said Guan Lixin, an official of the MOC.

Retail sales of consumer goods rose 8.2 percent year on year in the first nine months of 2019. Excluding automobile sales, growth was 9.1 percent.

Local governments are planning to gradually lift vehicle purchase restrictions and announce measures to promote used cars and new energy vehicles, said Zhao Ping, a researcher from the Academy of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade.

“It is essential to remove institutional barriers and accelerate innovation.”


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