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Major boost for rural home appliances

CHINA will offer 20 billion yuan (US$2.92 billion) in subsidies this year to encourage spending on home appliances in rural areas, the Ministry of Commerce said today.

It is estimated the subsidies will boost spending by 150 billion yuan, Liu Haiquan, director at the comprehensive department under the ministry, said at a briefing in Beijing today.

"The Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of Finance are mapping out measures to facilitate rural residents getting the subsidies as the current procedure is complicated," Liu said.

The "Home Appliances to the Countryside" policy was launched this month to upgrade rural consumption and promote coordinated development in domestic consumption and exports.

Rural residents will enjoy a 13-percent refund on home appliances, including computers, air-conditioners, water heaters, TVs, refrigerators, washing machines, motorcycles and mobile phones.

Almost two-thirds of China's 1.3 billion people live in rural areas, and household-appliance ownership is 20 years behind that in the cities.

"The personal annual income in rural areas reached 4,761 yuan last year, equivalent to the income of urban residents in 1990s when home appliances became popular," Liu said.

The Ministry of Finance estimated that the stimulus plan could increase spending by 1.6 trillion yuan over four years and sales will reach 600 million units.


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