China mulls measures to boost consumer spending

The plan aims to encourage purchases of new-energy vehicles, smartphones, and home appliances.

By

China mulls measures to boost consumer spending

Chinese officials are drafting a plan to further boost sales of new-energy cars and electronics, including smartphones and home appliances, Bloomberg reports.

For cars, the idea is to encourage brands to increase auto loans in tier-3 cities and below, increase the number of car licenses, provide subsidies for people who trade 10-year-old cars for electric, hybrid, or fuel-cell vehicles, and to deduct car purchases from personal income tax.

The plan also proposes to boost consumer electronics purchases by subsidizing people who trade in old smartphones for new ones and to give subsidies of up to 13% for home appliances purchases below RMB 800 (USD 120).

The plan would aim to boost flagging industries within an economy that has, by and large, performed better than expected.

Car sales fell 5.2% year-on-year in March to 2.52 million vehicles, the ninth straight month of declines and the lowest since August 2018. Sales through 2018 dropped 15.8% compared with 2017.

Smartphone sales in China are also down. Shipments for 2018 were down around 12-15.5% to about 390 million units, while IDC estimates sales were down 9.7% in Q4 2018 to 103 million units.

Meanwhile, China’s economy grew 6.4% year-on-year in Q1 2019, while retail expanded to 8.7% in March—with both figures beating expectations.

Editor: Nadine Freischlad