News / Asia

China Pins Hopes on Bigger Spending to Boost Economy

China Pins Hopes on Bigger Spending to Reform Economyi
X
October 29, 2013 1:16 PM
China has long sought to shift from an export economy to one based more on domestic consumption. There are now signs those efforts are working, partly through incentives aimed at encouraging spending from domestic tourists. Keeping that trend on track is a top priority for Chinese leaders meeting in November. This report from VOA’s Beijing bureau.
China Pins Hopes on Bigger Spending to Reform Economy
VOA News
China has long sought to shift from an export economy to one based more on domestic consumption. There are now signs those efforts are working, partly through incentives aimed at encouraging spending from domestic tourists. Keeping that trend on track is a top priority for Chinese leaders meeting in November.
 
Beijing’s storied attractions such as the Lama Temple draw increasing numbers of Chinese each year.
 
During a recent holiday break, one such tourist who identified himself only as Zhou, says he and his family drove 1,500 kilometers from Sichuan to see the Forbidden City and other sights.
 
“Now we have holidays, time off to spend," Zhou said. "We have our own car and the government waives highway fees. We can save some money to spend for holidays. This is all very convenient.”  
 
While China's domestic spending is rising, families here still spend much less than their counterparts in the West.
 
Consumer spending still accounts for less than half of the country’s economic growth. In the United States, it’s responsible for more than two-thirds.
 
Economist Song Hong says as Chinese households grow wealthier, purchasing a car is a tipping point for spending more.
 
“Many households long to buy a car, and once they meet this need, they then go travel and spend money and enjoy other services,” he said.

Retail sales grew by more than 13 percent in August, the highest this year.  During China’s national holidays in October, the country set a new spending record, as some 31 million tourists spent more than $140 billion.
 
One key challenge is making it easier for Chinese from all walks of life to spend money more regularly. Professor Song says unequal income levels in cities and high saving levels in the countryside remain a stumbling block.

“The problem is in the rural areas where the social system is only now being created and the level of consumption remains low,” he explained.
 
The Chinese government is trying to encourage more spending through car-friendly policies such as subsidizing fuel during national holidays and waiving highway tolls.
 
Lan Lan and her friends came to Beijing from the western province of Xinjiang. During their first trip so far from home, they were watching their money carefully.

“We take part time jobs, save money and add in a little pocket money from our families to go travel,” she explained.
 
As Chinese communist leaders meet in November to outline economic policies for the next five years, they are expected to focus on how to make household spending a driving economic force, much like it is in other countries.

You May Like

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

China to Open Stock Markets to Pension Funds

In unprecedented move, government to soon allow local pension funds to invest up to $94 billion in domestic shares More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs