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New Deal to Boost Consumption

(Beijing Review)

08:16, September 27, 2012

UPGRADING CONSUMPTION: Residents in Yichang, central China's Hubei Province, select gold products in a jewelry store (LIN HONG)

China is working toward expanding consumption at home. The State Council on September 10 issued the 12th Five-Year Development Plan for Domestic Trade (2011-15), estimating that by 2015 the country's retail sales of consumer goods will reach 32 trillion yuan ($5.06 trillion), with an annual average growth rate of 15 percent.

In 2011, China's retail sales of consumer goods stood at 15.4 trillion yuan ($2.43 trillion) and by 2015 domestic consumption could double.

The national plan is the first of its kind dedicated to increasing domestic consumption in a country that has largely relied on consumers in developed nations to fuel its growing economy. Shen Danyang, spokesman of the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM), said the plan is significant in terms of moving China toward rapid development of its domestic trade, improving people's livelihood and guiding production.

Since the 2008 global financial crisis, China has seen less demand for its exports. Exploiting the domestic market is seen as a key to maintaining economic growth.

The Chinese Government hopes to see during the five-year period a complete rural market network, improvements in logistics infrastructure and an expansion of chain supermarkets to cover more villages. Furthermore, it hopes for a better distribution of urban commercial outlets, an enhancement of comprehensive service functions and better trade development coordination between urban and rural areas.

Regarding its logistics industry, the government hopes the sales volume of chain retailers will account for more than 20 percent of the country's total retail sales of consumer goods. The transaction volume of e-commerce is expected to grow at an annual average rate of 30 percent. Finally, there will be some competitive logistics enterprises.

In the meantime, the market should be more capable of preventing and handling abnormal market fluctuations. The laws, standards and the credit system of the domestic trade sector will further improve and the market order will strengthen. The government also says it will improve product quality and safety.

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