Chinese government departments recently issued a notice on unleashing consumption potential amid the epidemic in a bid to stimulate economic growth.
The notice, issued by the Ministry of Commerce, the National Development and Reform Commission and the National Health Commission, emphasized the importance of expanding traditional consumption, of which one important aspect is the stabilisation of automobile consumption.
The automobile industry has a relatively long industrial chain and high consumer value, and plays a major role in bringing about employment and economic growth, said Ren Xingzhou, research fellow at the Institute of Market Economy under the Development Research Center of the State Council.
The document also pointed out the need to help vegetable markets resume operations and improve logistical networks to ensure the supply and sales of agricultural products.
From January to February, enterprises above designated size saw retail sales of cereals, oils and foodstuffs increase by 9.7 percent year-on-year, with meat and vegetables growing by 37.8 percent and 27.1 percent respectively.
China will also seek to develop new forms of consumption by promoting the integration of online and offline channels in the business sector and encouraging e-commerce platforms to team up with supermarkets, convenience stores, business buildings, and communities to innovate their business models, the document said.
It will also support the digital transformation of small- and medium-sized businesses seeking to develop services such as e-commerce, unmanned retail and smart supermarkets, which Ren believes will improve the consumption process and efficiency.
New forms of consumption, such as online shopping, have developed during the pneumonia outbreak. In January and February, the online retail sales of physical goods saw a year-on-year increase of 3 percent against the impact of the outbreak, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics.
Tourists visit the cherry blossoms in Yangzhou, Jiangsu Province on March 22, where the social distancing policies mostly eased. Photo: Meng Delong/People’s Daily Online