Trade-ins highlighted to spur economy

2024-03-05 10:00:36China Daily Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

An employee works at an electronics trade-in outlet in Beijing. (Photo provided to China Daily)

China is poised to further boost consumption this year through extensive equipment upgrades and consumer goods trade-ins, with energy consumption and emissions being key measurements, all of which should unlock fresh opportunities for businesses operating in the circular economy and related sectors, said experts and business executives on Monday.

The remarks came after the State Council, the country's Cabinet, said on Friday that the authorities will intensify fiscal and financial policy support, make full use of standards including energy consumption, emissions and emerging technologies to promote the upgrade of equipment in sectors such as construction, transportation, agriculture, education and healthcare, and facilitate trade-ins of cars and home appliances.

Hong Yong, an analyst from the Convergence of Digital and Real Economy 50 People Forum, said these initiatives could drive technological progress, improve resource allocation, stimulate domestic demand, foster consumption upgrades, and contribute to the green and sustainable development of industrial structures.

"Equipment and consumer goods upgrades present significant opportunities for enterprises focused on recycling, reuse and remanufacturing. These enterprises should establish effective feedback mechanisms to communicate issues and suggestions to manufacturers, promoting continuous green consumption development and increased market influence," said Zhou Mi, a senior researcher at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation.

"The recent action plan approved by the State Council to promote new-for-old activities has provided a powerful boost to the entire circular economy industry. The current scale of the domestic market for trading idle items has surpassed 1 trillion yuan ($138.9 billion), and it is expected to exceed 3 trillion yuan by 2025. Stimulating users' willingness to engage in idle product transactions and encouraging more people to participate are crucial for further development," said Ding Jian, president of Xianyu.

Xianyu is a key online platform for consumer goods recycling. It provides various solutions, including direct transactions between buyers and sellers, recycling and consignment. The platform now has over 500 million users with more than 4 million items being posted for sale each day.

Over the past year, Xianyu observed an 11 percent growth in recycling orders for household appliances and a 17 percent growth in mobile phone orders. The eastern region and the younger demographic have driven the circulation of idle goods, with over 65 percent of users being below 35 years of age.

"We look forward to more measures to incentivize consumers to replace old products and encourage the purchase of more environmentally friendly, energy-efficient products. This will significantly increase the circulation scale of idle items, and promote the circular industry to usher in a new upward cycle," he said.

Ding said that in 45 key trading categories, there are now quantifiable carbon reduction standards on Xianyu. Building upon this, the platform has introduced a carbon accounting system, recording the scale of carbon emissions reductions behind each transaction. Last year, Xianyu users collectively reduced carbon emissions by 3.14 million metric tons of coal equivalents.

"We anticipate that by 2030, with over 1 billion users served, Xianyu will drive cumulative carbon reductions exceeding 55 million tons. The company will further leverage digital technologies and contribute to the circular economy in answering the nation's call," said Ding.

With many new energy vehicles already approaching retirement, there is a huge market demand for battery recycling, said Zhang Tianren, chairman of battery maker Tianneng Group, and also a deputy to the National People's Congress, the top legislature.

Zhang made a motion to the NPC during this year's two sessions to establish an ecological system covering the entire lifecycle of power batteries.

This includes establishing a broad and sustainable network for recycling, as well as an information tracing platform covering battery production, use and recycling.

"The efforts are to battle the inflow of discarded battery materials into informal markets, which causes environmental pollution and presents safety hazards, thus contradicting the initial purpose of developing new energy," Zhang said.

"Recycling batteries is an effective method to reduce the environmental impact and dependence on imported mineral resources, which will contribute to the sustainable development of the NEV industry," Zhang added.


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