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Movies, travel see big rise during Spring Festival

2015-02-25 08:54 Global Times Web Editor: Qin Dexing

Deflation pressure still lingers for economy: experts

Mainland entertainment activities such as moviegoing and traveling saw rapid growth during the past weeklong Spring Festival holidays, data showed during the holidays, despite the country's overall economy still facing great downward pressure.

The box-office revenue in the five-day period starting from the first day of the Chinese Lunar New Year, which fell on February 18 this year, reached 1.47 billion yuan ($235 million), surging 36.1 percent over the same period in 2014, data from Beijing-based EntGroup International Consulting showed Tuesday.

On the first day of the Chinese Lunar New Year alone, the box-office revenue reached nearly 364 million yuan, according to data from EntGroup, marking a record high for the mainland's movie box office. The strong performance of the mainland's movie box office during the holiday period even surpassed that in North America during the same period, Hou Tao, vice president of EntGroup, told the Global Times Tuesday.

"I watched the movie Wolf Totem with my family during the holidays. It is a good way to spend the holidays together with my family," Han Peng, a 29-year-old white-collar worker in Beijing, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

"Small expenditures like moviegoing are less affected by the overall economy," Hou said, noting that the rapid growth in the box-office revenue indicates that the consumption structure of Chinese people is improving and demand in cultural products is on a rise.

In addition, an increasing number of people chose to make trips during the traditional holidays. Around 250 million trips were expected to be made during the Spring Festival holidays, up 11 percent on a yearly basis, generating revenue of around 140 billion yuan, according to a forecast from China Tourism Academy in January.

However, experts noted that despite consumption in several sectors during the Spring Festival holidays being strong, overall domestic demand remains weak and the economy is still facing great deflation pressure.

Chinese media reported that the sales of fireworks in several areas saw an obvious decline during the holidays.

Sales of fireworks in Beijing dropped around 40 percent during the holidays from a year ago, according to a report on local newspaper Beijing Morning Post on Tuesday.

"Fundamentals of the economy did not change and the economy is still facing great downward pressure and the consumer price index will remain low for February," Liu Dongliang, a senior analyst at China Merchants Bank, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

A research note from Haitong Securities on Tuesday stated that deflationary pressure is the major risk for China's economy at present and it is time for the central bank to launch another interest rate cut.

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