China unveils plan to stabilize supply chains, lift sentiment

China will launch a month-long campaign across the country to promote consumption to consolidate the recovery in spending, the Ministry of Commerce said on Friday.

The month-long campaign from Sept 9 to Oct 8 is designed to further boost the consumer market sentiment and provide new opportunities for enhancing the vitality of market players, and stabilize industrial and supply chains, said Wang Bin, deputy director-general of the ministry’s department of market operations and consumption promotion.

The official said the program will provide new impetus to accelerate consumption replenishment and harness purchasing potential, ensure people’s basic livelihood, and meet consumers’ individualized and diversified demands.

The event will be jointly organized by the Ministry of Commerce, China Media Group and the Beijing municipal government in Beijing’s Qianmen pedestrian street, according to the ministry.

A total of 179 cities across the country will participate in the upcoming event, organizing more than 2,800 key activities. Such events will integrate online and offline commercial activities, and involve 100,000 companies.

With the Chinese economy recovering steadily from the COVID-19 epidemic effect, Wang expects domestic consumption growth to accelerate in September. He said the dual-cycle development pattern will help Chinese businesses in the retail sector to better adapt to the current global business environment.

The country’s top leadership has, on various occasions, reaffirmed the idea of a dual-cycle development pattern, meaning the country’s growth will rely on both domestic and international economic developments, with the domestic cycle being the mainstay.

Such a mode comprises optimal exploitation of domestic market resources and exchanges between the domestic and international markets, said Li Yiping, a professor at the School of Economics of the Renmin University of China in Beijing.

Liu Meiying, deputy head of the Beijing Municipal Commerce Bureau, said consumption will be a bright spot in China’s future growth and such a trend is meaningful for both domestic and foreign companies.

China’s long-term consumption potential is attractive and the country is already the world’s largest retail market. Even if it grows at a slower pace, it will still be the fastest-growing market in the world, Liu said.

The Ministry of Commerce has taken proactive steps to come out with policy measures for mitigating the epidemic impact, such as stabilizing foreign trade and foreign investment and promoting consumption, as well as coordinating and promoting the key tasks of consumption promotion in the business system.

Wang, from the commerce ministry, stressed that China will increase support for small business owners, formulate and promulgate policies to promote the transformation and improvement of pedestrian streets, stabilize automobile purchases, and enrich the growth of convenience stores under various brands.

Hironobu Taketomi, president of Fujifilm (China) Investment Co Ltd, said though the COVID-19 epidemic has affected his company’s business in the first quarter of this year, the overall effect on the Japanese firm is relatively minor thanks to its diversified business scope, including medical system business such as endoscopy and ultrasound devices that are in great demand for pneumonia tests and treatment in frontline regions, and display materials for tablets from an increased trend for work-from-home and studying at home.

He said the company’s sales have increased steadily in the country with the improved epidemic situation since April.

Though retail sales of consumer goods, a major indicator of consumption growth, dropped 9.9 percent on a yearly basis to 20.45 trillion yuan in the first seven months, the figure rose by 0.85 percent on a monthly basis in July, according to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics.

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