Money giveaways aim to boost consumption
Nanjing of East China's Jiangsu province has been giving people consumption vouchers to stimulate consumer spending that has been severely suppressed by the coronavirus outbreak.
The city has allocated 318 million yuan ($45 million) for 670,000 vouchers, which will be distributed to any applicant nationwide who intends to spend it in Nanjing. Applications for the money go into a lottery pool from which voucher winners are selected.
The lottery opened on Sunday, and by Tuesday more than 1.67 million people had submitted applications for the first batch of 270,000 vouchers. Another two batches of vouchers will be distributed later this month.
The vouchers can be used at restaurants, sports events, bookstores and electronic product stores in Nanjing that support digital payments.
Some other Chinese cities have put forward similar measures to stimulate the consumption in light of the epidemic.
Jiande, Zhejiang province, announced that it would give vouchers totaling 10 million yuan to tourists visiting the city. Each tourist needs only to scan a QR code to get 500 yuan that can pay for food, tickets to scenic spots or hotels.
Ningbo, Zhejiang province, said the local government and companies will offer vouchers worth 100 million yuan to boost consumption at parks, hotels, movie theaters and bookstores.
Changsha, Hunan province, will give each customer a discount of 0.3 percent and a 3,000 yuan subsidy to buy one of 49 designated cars.
In Guangzhou, Guangdong province, a 10,000 yuan subsidy will be given to any consumers who purchase a new energy vehicle until December.
Shen Junxi, a professor at the Nanjing Normal University business school, said a strong consumption rebound will not come easy.
"Distributing vouchers will not only promote consumption but also help some seriously affected industries recover," he said. "It has a positive effect on enterprises, consumers and the market environment."
Shen said consumption contributed to nearly 60 percent of domestic GDP last year and that more stimulating measures are on the way to boost consumer spending in big Chinese cities, including Nanjing.
Zhang Yanning, deputy director of the Nanjing Commerce Bureau, said the vouchers will encourage more residents to shop and enjoy life.
"It aims to give a strong push to the city's service industries and ensure that all the economic and social goals set for 2020 will be achieved," he said.
Qi Hui, the owner of a noodle restaurant in Nanjing's Jianye district, said, "My restaurant has been closed for nearly two months and is trying to survive after the virus outbreak. We welcome the vouchers and hope that more customers will use them and restore confidence in eating at restaurants."