Economic Watch: China's consumption recovers at accelerated pace, a good start for 2023
People tour Jiuzhou ancient town in Huangping County, southwest China's Guizhou Province, Jan. 26, 2023. (Photo by Wang Chao/Xinhua)
BEIJING, Feb. 9 (Xinhua) -- China's consumption has been recovering quickly, with some sectors almost returning to their pre-pandemic levels.
The vigorous rebound has prompted central and local governments to introduce more policies, which experts believe will build on the growth momentum and unleash further consumption potential.
RECOVERY IN FULL SWING
Domestic tourism was one of the sectors that took the lead in staging a rebound. During China's weeklong Spring Festival holiday that ended on Jan. 27, some 308 million domestic trips were made, up 23.1 percent from the Spring Festival holiday last year, according to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
The figure has recovered to 88.6 percent of the level in 2019.
Other industries such as retail and catering are also thriving. The combined revenues of major retail and catering businesses rose 6.8 percent from the last Spring Festival holiday, the Ministry of Commerce said.
China's cinema box office during this year's Spring Festival holiday reported its second-highest gross figures for the holiday to date, raking in a total revenue of nearly 6.76 billion yuan (about 1 billion U.S. dollars), according to data from the China Film Administration.
"During this year's Spring Festival, we have seen a comeback of booming consumption activities, with spending in the trans-provincial tourism, catering and film sectors picking up rapidly," said Wang Yun, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Macroeconomic Research.
Such promising signs have ensured a good start to full-year economic growth, Wang added.
MORE POLICY SUPPORT
Promoting consumption is high on China's policy agenda for this year, as the annual Central Economic Work Conference held in mid-December last year noted that the country would prioritize the recovery and expansion of consumption.
A State Council executive meeting held in late January also urged timely measures to promote an early recovery of consumption as the main economic driving force.
Boosted by this positive outlook, local governments have been moving to unveil an array of pro-consumption measures designed to fuel the growth of specific spheres.
Some parts of China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region have introduced measures to subsidize purchases of new passenger vehicles priced within a certain range.
Shanghai, China's financial hub, has announced that it will offer a 10 percent one-time subsidy of up to 1,000 yuan to consumers who purchase green and smart home appliances, while northwest China's Shaanxi Province is set to nurture its sports, healthcare, elderly care and nursery sectors, as well as other growth spots.
The local policy incentives that have been put forward are conducive to releasing previously suppressed demand, exploring potential demand and creating new demand, said Chen Lifen, a researcher at the Development Research Center of the State Council.
Experts believe that the key to breeding new growth engines is providing a high-quality supply.
To this end, Ministry of Commerce official Xu Xingfeng said the ministry will roll out new policies spotlighting sectors such as automobiles and home furnishings, in accordance with their situations, to accelerate the recovery of consumption.