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China to subsidize energy-saving desktops, air conditioners

(Xinhua)

08:17, September 10, 2012

BEIJING, Sept. 9 (Xinhua) -- China will subsidize the use of energy-saving desktop computers and air-conditioners in its latest effort to save energy and boost domestic demand, the Ministry of Finance (MOF) told Xinhua on Sunday.

The country will earmark 14 billion yuan (2.22 billion U.S. dollars) in subsidies to encourage the purchases of six types of energy-saving products, including desktop computers, air-conditioners, fans, water pumps, compressors and transformers.

The subsidy program will last for one year and is expected to raise the market share of the energy-saving products to more than 40 percent, the ministry said, without disclosing when the program will start.

"The move marks the government's effort to combine stabilizing economic growth and stoking domestic demand with promoting energy savings and emission reductions," an official with the ministry said.

The subsidies may give a boost to the slowing economy, which grew 7.6 percent in the second quarter of this year, marking the slowest pace in three years.

The country has currently 130 million desktop computers, which consume 31.2 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity every year. The annual power consumption of air-conditioners reach 350 billion kwh, data showed.

In 2011, the power consumption of fans, pumps, compressors and transformers accounted for 40 percent of the country's total, but they were only 80 percent as efficient as those in developed countries.

"The subsidy program will help save 31.3 billion kwh of electricity every year and drive sales of the energy-saving products by 155.6 billion yuan," the official said.

The MOF, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology will release the detailed rules on the subsidy program soon, according to the official.

China started subsidizing energy-saving products including light bulbs and automobiles in 2009. From June 1, 2012, the country provided subsidies for purchases of five types of energy-saving home appliances, including air conditioners, flat-panel televisions, refrigerators, washing machines and water heaters.

"The subsidy policy has yielded remarkable results," the official said, as such programs have boosted sales by over 600 billion yuan and saved 28 billion kwh of electricity each year since 2009.

The new subsidy program is also believed to be the government's latest effort to lift consumption amid a slowing economy.

In recent weeks, China has adopted a series of measures to prevent economic growth from sagging further.

The NDRC, the nation's top economic planning agency, announced in the past week the approval of 55 infrastructure projects ranging from subway lines to highways, which could be worth more than one trillion yuan in total, in a sign that the government is ramping up spending to boost the weak economy.

The government has set a target for economic growth of 7.5 percent for this year, down from actual growth of 9.3 percent last year.

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