China Focus: Beijing spurs consumption following optimized COVID response-Xinhua

China Focus: Beijing spurs consumption following optimized COVID response

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2023-01-15 20:56:30

BEIJING, Jan. 15 (Xinhua) -- Beijing has set a GDP growth target of over 4.5 percent for 2023, vowing to further spur consumption amid its efforts to facilitate growth recovery, said the city's acting mayor Yin Yong.

"Restoring and expanding consumption should take precedence," Yin said Sunday as he delivered the government work report at the annual session of the Beijing Municipal People's Congress.

The Chinese capital pledged to cultivate consumption in digital, cultural, and ice-and-snow industries and support spending on housing improvement, new energy vehicles, and elderly care services to revive the economy, according to the government work report.

To leverage the role of investment in optimizing the supply-side structure, Beijing will further promote 100 infrastructure projects, 100 projects for improving people's livelihood, and 100 projects for scientific and technological innovation and hi-tech industries, it said.

Beijing will comprehensively deepen reform and opening up to boost market confidence, Yin said, adding that it will accelerate the recovery of international passenger flights and increase international cargo air routes.

The city also set goals for other major economic indicators in 2023, including a surveyed urban unemployment rate of 5 percent or less and consumer price index (CPI) growth of about 3 percent, said the government work report.

With continuously optimized COVID-19 prevention and control policies, Beijing has gradually recovered from the negative impact of the epidemic, regaining its hustle and bustle, which is the epitome of Chinese cities.

Hordes of people now crowd outside restaurants, waiting for seats during peak hours. Moviegoers swarm cinemas to watch movies on the big screen, while road and subway lines are flooded with commuters again.

"My 'joy combo' of dinner, beer, and movies have finally made its comeback," said Zhang Hongliang, a Beijing resident who joined his friends for the Hollywood blockbuster "Avatar: The Way of Water" at a cinema in Haidian District.

It marked his first on-spot theater movie appreciation over the past six months. "The theater was almost packed, and moviegoers laughed together as before," Zhang said.

"It's obvious that the number of customers is growing these days. Many leave with full shopping bags. The passenger flow and sales this week have rebounded to the same level compared with the same period last year," said Pu Jiajia, general manager of Hanguang Department Store in Beijing.

Hong Tao, director of the Institute of Business Economics at Beijing Technology and Business University, said the consumer market in China is projected to revive this year, releasing the demand previously contained by the epidemic.

Boosting consumption and expanding domestic demand are highlighted in the economic layouts of many provincial-level regions across China as they hold annual legislative and political consultative meetings.

Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province pledged in its government work report to launch promotion activities in sectors such as automobiles and household appliances and issue coupons worth 600 million yuan (89.52 million U.S. dollars) throughout the year.