BUSINESS Chinese have a larger appetite for imported goods during festival


Chinese have a larger appetite for imported goods during festival

By Ma Jingjing | Global Times

22:04, February 18, 2021

Consumers sample ham at an exhibition booth at the third China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai over the weekend. This year, a lot of countries including the UK and France set up food areas at the CIIE, allowing consumers to get a taste of flavors from all around the world including the hottest instant noodles and food made with plant-based meat. (Photo: Yang Hui/GT)

China's consumption sector saw a robust rebound during the Spring Festival holiday, which gave a huge boost to sales of imported goods, letting the world share the dividends of the booming economy.

From February 4-15, sales of imported wine on Tmall Global, the cross-border business-to-consumer marketplace under Alibaba Group, soared by 10 times, with British and Japanese whisky, Japanese sake and French brandy becoming popular, data from the platform sent to the Global Times on Thursday showed.

Sales of imported chocolate on Tmall Global jumped this month for Valentine's Day. Its data showed that sales of imported chocolate increased by 337 percent year-on-year from February 4-15, with candy made in UAE, Switzerland and Japan among the hottest sellers.

The cargo arm of China Southern Airlines handled 18,000 tons of imported products in January, up 30.37 percent year-on-year, according to the company.

It said that the company's handling of high-value goods such as drugs that need to be temperature-controlled and cosmetics soared 450 percent to hit 2,156 tons, setting a record high.

The appreciation of the yuan partially contributed to import growth. Last year, the onshore yuan rose 6.52 percent against the US dollar, according to data provider Wind.

Cross-border cargo logistics are continuing to recover along with the rollout of vaccines. According to China Southern Airlines, the load rate of all returning cargo flights in January exceeded 80 percent, while passenger flights that were converted to cargo flights and passenger flights both ran at almost 100-percent capacity.

To support the export and import of premium goods over the Chinese New Year peak, Air New Zealand launched a new cargo route to Guangzhou, South China's Guangdong Province in early February. Flights to Guangzhou will carry local premium export goods including seafood and milk powder, and flights to New Zealand will carry medical supplies and electronics, according to the airline's press release.

It's worth noting that China's imports from countries and regions along the route of the Belt and Road Initiative such as Vietnam and the EU remained active during the week-long Chinese Lunar New Year holidays.

From February 10-16, Vietnam's total trade stood at $1.67 billion, up 53 percent year-on-year, while its largest volume of exports flowed to China, accounting for 26 percent, according to the General Department of Vietnam Customs.

During this year's Spring Festival, China imported 10,000 standard containers of products from Europe via China-Europe Railway Express services, delivering imported wine, chocolate, snacks and juice to Chinese households.

Over the period, key retail and catering enterprises posted combined sales revenue of 821 billion yuan ($127 billion), up 28.7 percent year-on-year, the Ministry of Commerce said on Wednesday.

With retail sales hitting 39.2 trillion yuan last year despite the pandemic, analysts forecast that China will soon surpass the US to become the world's largest retail market for consumer goods.

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