The central government carried out a series of policies and measures this year to foster growth areas of consumption. What results did these policies achieve? An inspection team from the State Council came up with some intriguing figures.
Inspection over ministries
The inspection team found that a number of ministries are providing favorable policies to welcome social forces to participate in the hot areas of Internet Plus.
Yin Weimin, minister of human resources and social security, said 13 places across the country have raised the minimum wage, on average, by 13.5 percent. Pensions for enterprise retirees increased by 10 percent and monthly basic pension benefits for rural and non-working urban residents were raised from 55 yuan to 70 yuan per person. All these measures will help boost consumption.
The Ministry of Culture adjusted policies for Internet services this year to encourage online cultural consumption. A pilot program to boost cultural consumption in urban and rural areas received a fund of 20 million yuan from the Ministry of Finance.
The Ministry of Civil Affairs and the National Health and Family Planning Commission carried out measures to integrate Internet Plus with elderly care and medical services.
Wang Zhigang, vice-minister of science and technology, proposed developing digital remote medical services. The Ministry of Science and Technology also established 34 national bases of culture and technology integration together with the Ministry of Culture to promote creative cultural industries.
The China Insurance Regulatory Commission tested the feasibility of building online insurance companies and expanded the realm of a number of insurance categories.
The General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine and Certification and Accreditation Administration are also testing ways to do their business online.
Inspection over local governments
The inspection team was told that online education had been a growth area in recent years in Shanghai, with a quarterly increase of 13.4 percent.
Information consumption and electronic commerce are priorities in Guangdong province. Cities like Shenzhen, Shantou and Zhuhai are catching people’s eyes through information consumption.
Enterprises at Z-Innoway, a nesting hub for “spacemakers” in Beijing’s Zhongguancun area are enjoying favorable policies concerning tax, rent and finance, and are delivering intellectual and personal services to the public.
According to data released by the Ministry of Commerce, China’s total retail sales of consumer goods from January to April reached 9.3 trillion yuan, an increase of 10.4 percent compared with the same period last year. Typically, online retail sales increased by 40.3 percent in the same period.
Problems and suggestions
The inspection team found that consumption is still not enough due to a lack of creative ideas, technical expertise and management experience, especially in areas such as education, elderly care and medical services.
Over 90 percent of elderly people stay in their homes and elderly care organizations are extremely limited, said Wang Jianjun, deputy-dean of the National Committee on Ageing. Related policies are not integrated enough. For example, it is very hard for nursing institutions to find a place to conduct their businesses, Wang added.
Liu Yuzhu, assistant to the minister of culture, said cultural consumption reached 1.9 trillion yuan in China, however, it could reach 5 trillion yuan due to the large population. In February, China outpaced the US for the first time at the box office.
Tourism is one of the major hot spots of China’s consumption, with the country’s domestic tourism spending reaching 3 trillion yuan in 2014, accounting for more than 10 percent of residents’ spending on consumption.