China’s imports of consumer goods expand at fast pace

(People's Daily Online) 09:40, August 13, 2021

In the first half of 2021, China’s imports of goods increased by 16 percent. The presence of more imported high-quality products in the domestic market improves the structure and quality of the country’s supply side and satisfies consumers’ demand for high-quality goods.

In H1, the domestic consumer market demonstrated a steady recovery. According to data from the National Bureau of Statistics, China’s retail sales for consumer goods totaled 21.2 trillion yuan (3.28 trillion US dollars), up 23 percent year-on-year.

Consumers choose from products showcased at an import expo held in north China's Tianjin. (Photo/People's Daily)

Customs statistics indicated that in H1, the import of bags, jewelry, accessories, and watches increased by 100 percent over the same period last year.

Imports via e-commerce platforms also reported robust growth. In H1, exports via cross-border e-commerce stood at 283.1 billion yuan, up 4.6 percent year-on-year. Among these imported products, beauty and skincare products, healthcare products, and mother and baby care products were the most popular items.

Dong Chao, director of the institute of circulation and consumption at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation under the Ministry of Commerce, noted that China has cultivated a number of market entities that are very competitive in terms of procurement, the introduction of foreign brands, and supply chains, bringing a greater variety of high-quality goods to Chinese consumers.

On June 5, an imported expo was held in north China’s Tianjin Municipality to display more than 10,000 products from 30 countries and regions around the world.

“We want to build an open platform for imported goods that better satisfies consumers’ demands for more high-quality goods,” said Xue Yingjie, general manager of the Greenland Global Commodity Trading Center Group affiliated to Greenland Holdings Co., Ltd., a major property developer in China. Xue disclosed that the next step plans for Greenland were to build an import service platform to introduce more medium- and high-end consumer goods.

Expanding imports of consumer goods also promotes overseas consumption to flow back to the home market, allowing for the spillover effects in employment and taxation created by consumption of international commodities to stay in the home market, as well as driving the development of the upstream and downstream industries.

A new policy for duty-free shopping in southern China’s Hainan province has further boosted imports and has made consumers more willing to spend in the home market. Official data shows that offshore duty-free sales in the province grew 226 percent between July 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021, reaching 46.8 billion yuan. Meanwhile, about 60.72 million items were sold to some 6.28 million customers.

Wei Hao, a professor at the School of Economics and Business Administration of Beijing Normal University, said that actively expanding the import of consumer goods helps to stimulate consumption potential and vitality, promoting the formation of a strong domestic market, and efficiently realizing interconnections and resource sharing between internal and external markets.

China has taken various measures to expand imports, including lowering import tariffs. The average tariff rate for imported items has been reduced from 9.8 percent in 2017 to below 7.5 percent. The country has also built more import platforms, improved the level of trade facilitation and optimized the list of cross-border e-commerce retail imports to promote a larger volume of imports into the country.

(Web editor: Hongyu, Liang Jun)


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