Local governments across China have issued a new round of consumption vouchers to boost the recovery of catering, tourism, retail and other industries weighed down by the COVID-19 epidemic.
The southern metropolis of Guangzhou has issued coupons worth a total of 30 million yuan (about 4.3 million U.S. dollars), covering catering, e-commerce, retail and hotel businesses.
A restaurant owner in Guangzhou's Baiyun District said customer flow has rebounded over the past weekend, and almost half of the consumers used coupons issued by the government.
Since November, Beijing has issued six batches of vouchers applicable to electronic devices such as mobile phones, laptops, tablet computers and air purifiers.
Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region has planned to issue more than 50,000 consumption vouchers for its 10 ski resorts from late December to February next year.
The island province of Hainan has issued 53 million yuan of vouchers to potential tourists around the country since late October, which has already achieved notable results. Over the past month or so, tourists from outside the island have accounted for 76 percent.
Several cities including Sanya, Changsha and Shenzhen have issued vouchers for purchasing new energy vehicles, with an average face value of over 1,000 yuan.
Some coupons have been distributed to certain groups of consumers. For example, Taiyuan City in Shanxi Province issued vouchers for the elderly, while Hohhot of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region issued vouchers for ride-hailing drivers, truck drivers, couriers and take-out deliverymen.
The annual Central Economic Work Conference held in Beijing last week underlined the role of consumption. Policymakers at the meeting prioritized the recovery and expansion of consumption as a key way to boost domestic demand in 2023.
Issuing consumption vouchers has proved effective in driving economic recovery. According to the data of the People's Bank of China Guangzhou Branch, in the first round of consumption promotion this year which ended in early May, Guangdong issued some 607 million yuan of vouchers, which helped to stimulate 3.58 billion yuan of consumer transactions.
Cao Zhongxiong, director of the Department of Digital Strategy and Economics at China Development Institute, said that an optimized voucher system could effectively consolidate the foundation of economic recovery.
On the other hand, it is necessary to stabilize employment, increase income, and enhance consumer confidence and ability through measures such as cutting taxes and fees and increasing financial support, Cao added.