Meeting agrees to press ahead with plan to bolster domestic demand
China will introduce new measures to boost consumption of automobiles, home appliances and catering services, as well as tap rural consumption potential, the State Council's executive meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang decided on Wednesday.
"At present, the prominent restraint on economic development lies in consumption as the main growth engine was seriously affected by the COVID-19 pandemic earlier this year. Consumption has been picking up in the past few months, but notable difficulties still remain in restoring normal growth, Li said.
It was agreed at the meeting that the strategy of bolstering domestic demand will be firmly implemented. Efforts will be made to stabilize and expand automobile consumption. Local authorities are encouraged to fine-tune restrictive measures regarding car purchases and increase their license plate quotas.
Promotion campaigns for vehicle purchasing and trading in used cars for new ones will be carried out. In rural areas, where conditions permit, residents will be encouraged to buy trucks with a capacity no bigger than 3.5 tons and passenger cars with engines no bigger than 1.6 liters.
Car buyers will be offered subsidies to phase out the use of gasoline powered vehicles of national emission standard III or below. The construction of parking lots and charging units will be stepped up.
Regions where conditions are appropriate are encouraged to give out subsidies for the phasing out of old household appliances and to encourage purchases of green and smart home appliances and environmentally friendly furniture.
Catering service providers are encouraged to enrich and upgrade their menus and innovate online and offline business models.
The expansion of county and township consumption will serve as a driving force to spur rural consumption.
Construction of business facilities in counties and townships and logistics outlets in villages will be strengthened. Sub-national localities will be supported in building comprehensive public service and consumer service centers mainly catering to rural demand and farmers.
"Counties and townships shall also be included when boosting rural consumption, as they boast enormous potential. High-end consumption in big cities should not be our sole focus," Li said, "County consumption capacity is still modest, yet it will grow and upgrade. Efforts should be taken to adapt to different consumer needs and improve people's lives."
Violations such as making and selling of fake or substandard goods will be cracked down on to ensure that the rural market is better regulated.
Support will also be given for the development of Internet Plus Tourism to better cater to people's demand in consumption upgrading. Development of smart facilities at tourist attractions will be taken forward and services such as electronic maps and audio guides will be promoted. Construction of digital exhibition venues at major tourism sites will be encouraged.
Tourism sites will be encouraged to increase online marketing efforts and facilitate new business forms such as cloud tours. Regulatory measures will be rolled out for the development of Internet Plus Homestays. Traditional offline services will remain in place for senior citizens and special groups.
Regulation will be improved, and tourism safety monitoring and online handling of complaints will be stepped up.
"Internet Plus Tourism will play a positive role in catalyzing consumption. Practices that have proved to be effective shall be summarized and promoted," Li said. "Regulation needs to be enhanced to crack down on cheating and swindling."