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Consumption month launched nationwide to encourage spending

By He Wei in Shanghai | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated:May 6, 2021

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China kicked off the 2021 National Consumption Promotion Month on May 1 in Shanghai. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

China kicked off the 2021 National Consumption Promotion Month on May 1 in Shanghai, aiming to boost consumption as the retail sector continues to rebound from COVID-19-induced spending caution.

The launch ceremony, attended by Shanghai's Party Secretary Li Qiang, also unveiled the second edition of Shanghai's 5-5 Shopping Festival, where merchants encourage customer spending through introducing new products, subsidies and activities.

Minister of Commerce Wang Wentao said at the launch ceremony that some 1,300 promotional activities will be held around the festival season to "further stimulate market vitality, unleash consumption potential, and better serve to build a new development pattern".

"During the first spring of the '14th Five-Year Plan' period, China's economy, which is off to a stable and sound start, has exhibited strong resilience and vigorous consumption momentum. The robust consumption market has been the top driving force for driving China's economic growth for years," said Shen Haixiong, president and editor-in-chief of China Media Group, a co-organizer of the serial event.

Shen said the broadcasting giant would leverage its mighty communication capability to promote the events to help drive high-quality growth and aid Shanghai's ambition to become an international consumption hub.

Shanghai Mayor Gong Zheng said the city shall strive to become a barometer for consumption trends, featuring new product debuts, renowned brands and duty free or tax refund shopping. The city will also accelerate digital transformation in the consumption realm and attract global shoppers.

From 8 pm to 10 pm on May 1, consumption spending topped 2 billion yuan in Shanghai, according to joint data provided by China UnionPay, Alipay and WeChat Pay.

Cosmetics giant L'Oreal is bringing three new brands, three flagship store debuts, two new beauty technologies, and over 100 new products to celebrate the gala, as the company recently upgraded Shanghai as its North Asia zone headquarters.

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China kicked off the 2021 National Consumption Promotion Month on May 1 in Shanghai. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

"Last year the 5-5 festival was a big re-boost of the economy and consumption following the pandemic," said Fabrice Megarbane, president of L'Oreal North Asia Zone and CEO of L'Oreal China. "I am so happy that we are doing this anniversary once again, witnessing this acceleration in terms of consumption."

To beef up consumption of local specialties from far-flung regions, Shanghai-based e-commerce site Pinduoduo offers 45 percent off on a variety of special agricultural goods, such as coffee from Yunnan province and yak meat from Qinghai province.

Consumers stand to access these goods not only through 11 offline shops across Shanghai, but can enjoy the deals via a dedicated online campaign by obtaining virtual coupons and subsidies worth 10 billion yuan.

The company is hoping that the online campaign, in partnership with some 15,000 Shanghai-based brands and corporations, can benefit nearly 800 million consumers nationwide.

Auto services platform Tuhu plans to offer subsidies around 1 billion yuan worth of subsidies that allow customers to purchase car maintenance package from 99 yuan, and is debuting a number of high-end tires from Europe.

"Last year's event has given our business a substantial boost," said Tuhu's president Hu Xiaodong. "We see the event as an effective bridge between merchants and customers. We also sense the further, great improvement of business environment."

Major cities such as Beijing, Chongqing and Suzhou will also hold sales in May, Gao Feng, a Ministry of Commerce spokesperson, said in a press briefing last month.

China's retail sales surged 34.2 percent year-on-year in March. More significantly, that number jumped nearly 13 percent compared with that of March 2019 prior to the pandemic.

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