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China to launch month-long effort in May to boost consumption

Yew Lun Tian and Ryan Woo
·2-min read
People visit a newly opened shopping mall in Beijing

By Yew Lun Tian and Ryan Woo

BEIJING (Reuters) -China will launch a series of promotional activities, including a new consumer goods expo in southern Hainan province, in May to boost spending as the Chinese retail sector recovers from COVID-19-induced consumer caution.

Expanding domestic consumption is a priority in China's "dual circulation" economic strategy first highlighted by President Xi Jinping in May, which also called for a reduced dependence on foreign markets.

China's retail sales surged 34.2% year-on-year in March, surpassing a 28.0% gain expected by analysts and stronger than the 33.8% jump in January-February. More significantly, retail revenues were 12.9% higher than March 2019 - before the pandemic.

As China enters a five-day Labour Day holiday, it will kick off the month-long spending campaign on May 1 in Shanghai with activities including a car show, Gao Feng, a commerce ministry spokesman, told a press conference on Sunday.

Other major cities such as Beijing, Chongqing and Suzhou will also hold sales in May, he added.

E-commerce platforms will also offer sales on food, travel, and cultural and sporting products by "good quality brands" for half a month.

Events planned in other cities include a food fair in Yangzhou city in eastern Jiangsu province from Thursday and a fair from May 12 in Guangzhou in southern Guangdong province that showcases well-known brands.

The city of Haikou in the subtropical island of Hainan - positioned by Beijing as a major Chinese consumption and tourism hub - will hold the inaugural consumer goods expo from May 7-10.

Besides domestic products, the expo will showcase consumer brands from 69 countries and regions including Japan, Britain and the United States, with over 10,000 merchandisers and more than 200,000 visitors anticipated.

Global brands such as Swatch, Shiseido, Dell and Tesla have confirmed their participation in the expo, according to Chinese state media.

(Reporting by Yew Lun Tian and Ryan Woo; Editing by David Evans and Muralikumar Anantharaman)