December 12, 2022
BEIJING – Several Chinese cities are introducing concrete steps to stimulate consumption and maintain stable economic growth amid optimization of the country’s COVID-19 rules in recent weeks.
In southern China’s Guangdong province, the Shenzhen city government has helped companies reduce their burden by more than 150 billion yuan ($21.56 billion) through various policies this year. These have effectively helped the majority of market entities overcome financial hurdles and resume production, said Wang Jun, deputy director of the city’s Development and Reform Commission.
On the consumer front, Shenzhen has increased its quota of car license plates and provided government subsidies to encourage residents to buy hybrid and new energy vehicles, Wang said at a recent news conference.
To curb carbon emissions, many Chinese cities, including Shenzhen, require residents to get a license plate via lottery or public auction before buying a car.
Other encouraging steps include promotion events for local tourism and ticket discounts at State-owned scenic spots until the end of March. In order to tap into the night economy, many shopping malls and street businesses in Shenzhen are being allowed to extend their hours of operation.
Many cultural, sports and artistic events are being planned in the city. The list includes the Nanshan Marathon, the Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism Architecture, Glow Shenzhen 2022 and the Golden Oyster Food and Folk Culture Festival, Wang said.
In Shenzhen’s Futian district, an incentive of 1.68 billion yuan was given to local companies that were facing financing difficulties, benefiting more than 14,000 enterprises and 15,000 business owners as of Tuesday.
“Futian district also encourages local companies to participate in exhibitions and trade fairs abroad to increase their global reach,” said Li Zhidong, a senior Party official of the district.
Tan Guangquan, an office worker in Futian, said he will use discount vouchers to book hotel accommodations for his parents and his sister’s family when they visit Shenzhen during Spring Festival.
Chengdu, Sichuan province, one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations, has big plans, too. The city has designed new offers, such as food plus performing arts or food plus cultural creativity, to encourage people to spend more. It plans to cash in on weekends, New Year’s Day and Spring Festival rush.
To boost consumption, Fuzhou, capital of Fujian province, is offering free subway and bus rides on all public holidays and weekends through Feb 28.
“Life is slowly getting back to normal. I miss dining out with friends on weekends,” said a local resident surnamed Song, adding that she will take adequate protection such as wearing a mask when in public.
Beijing has introduced a slew of measures as well to relieve the burden on businesses, meet market expectations and support steady economic growth. The list includes reducing taxes and fees, increasing policy support, resolving payment arrears and strengthening financial backing.
Official statistics show that the total tax and fee reductions, refunds and rebates in Beijing have reached 200 billion yuan so far this year, and 920 million yuan in arrears to small and medium-sized enterprises has been cleared.
In May, Beijing introduced a policy allowing sectors such as catering, retail and road and railway transportation to delay their social insurance payments to keep market entities afloat, stabilize employment and ensure people’s livelihoods weren’t affected.