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Beijing kicks off events to encourage spending

(China Daily)|Updated : 2020-06-10

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Children play with a robot at an outdoor market stall in Beijing's Haidian district on June 6, 2020. It is part of a citywide campaign to boost consumption. [Photo by Zou Hong/China Daily]

He Hong, a flower arrangement enthusiast in Beijing's Fengtai district, participated in a special promotional event on Saturday, which was held by the local government to boost consumption.

"Dressed in Chinese traditional costumes, we had a lesson about flower culture and arrangements at a flower cultural center, which I enjoyed a lot," she said. "I would like to spend money on such services, as well as on the beautiful flowers there."

To boost consumption, Fengtai district, as well as many other districts in Beijing, have held various events to attract consumers since Saturday.

Based on its business specialties, Fengtai has held promotional events focusing on flower and vehicle cultures.

In addition to activities in the flower center, the Beijing Auto Museum in Fengtai hosted trivia contests for children, and the winners received cultural gifts from the museum. The event attracted many families and helped boost consumption in the museum.

Beijing announced on Wednesday that it would offer coupons worth 12.2 billion yuan ($1.71 billion) to spur consumption dampened by the COVID-19 epidemic.

Data compiled over the weekend shows the effort is paying off.

The Beijing Department Store in Wangfujing business area, for example, saw a 30 percent increase in passenger flow and a 28 percent increase in revenue on Saturday compared to the previous day, according to Beijing Daily.

Passenger flow on Saturday recovered to about 85 percent of last year's level.

The coupons offered by the government have played an important role in boosting consumption, according to online commerce giant JD.

On Saturday, 39 percent of the coupons were used in restaurants and 61 percent were used to shop in physical stores, JD said.

The events will continue until the National Day holiday in October. Before then, more than 400 such events will be held to boost consumption, covering a multitude of areas including catering, retail, culture, tourism, education and sports.

"The COVID-19 epidemic has taken a heavy toll on Beijing's consumption," said Yan Ligang, head of the Beijing Municipal Commerce Bureau. "The upcoming consumption-boosting events will help promote the resumption of commerce and boost consumer confidence."

For instance, Beijing has launched a monthlong event to promote parent-child consumption on Saturday, involving more than 200 companies and 2,000 stores in the capital.

The bureau has released a "consumption map for families" that has listed various activities fit for parents and children in major business areas.

The online shopping platforms will also participate in the events to promote their services and products.

In addition, more than 50 parks in Beijing have decided to stay open until late at night, which will attract more visitors during the summer.