SCIO briefing on China's economic performance in the first quarter of 2020

The State Council Information Office held a press conference on April 17 in Beijing to brief the media on China's economic performance in the first quarter of 2020. April 18, 2020

Yicai TV:

Although consumption has declined markedly in the first quarter of this year, online retail has remained resilient throughout the process. Will online retail and the related economy contain further and greater growth potential in the future? Thank you.

Mao Shengyong:

Regarding consumption, we can look at this from two aspects.

First, consumption did experience some restraint in the first quarter, especially in terms of outdoor activities and service consumption. Next, as the order of production and life returns to normal gradually, consumption previously depressed will receive some compensation, and the consumption will gradually return to normal. In addition, although consumption has been affected by the epidemic, we must firmly recognize that consumption in our country still possesses huge potential. The steady and sound development of the Chinese economy in the future depends largely on the expansion of consumption. So how can we expand consumption? The core answer consists of two parts: consumption ability and consumption intention. Some people may wonder if consumption still contains such potential given that the national average income was not very good in the first quarter. But consumption is not determined solely by current income, it also involves expected income and the status of property, including savings. Thus, household income is only one of the factors affecting short-term consumption. In the next stage, with the gradual recovery of the economy, the residents' income will gradually increase. Regarding consumption intention, the desire for a better life among our people is quite strong, and the overall trend of upgrading the consumption structure is irreversible. In particular, at present, the degree of social security is constantly improving, its coverage is expanding, and its level is increasing year by year. Under such circumstances, the consumption in our country still possesses huge potential. Next, we will strengthen the intensity of policy implementation and unleash the potential of consumption. Recently, we have introduced a number of policies to expand consumption, including a policy jointly released by 23 ministries and commissions.

Second, new forms of consumption related to the internet have shown strong performance. As the use of the internet becomes increasingly widespread, it has deeply influenced people's production and life. The growth of online consumption is relatively faster, and its proportion of the total consumption will gradually increase. This is a basic development trend. Thank you.

Xi Yanchun:

I just returned to Beijing from Wuhan. During the prevention and control of the epidemic, the Chinese people were presented with a very tough situation. However, after the fight against the outbreak, China has gained the confidence, courage and strength to overcome any difficulty and any challenge. Just as Mr. Mao said, the Chinese economy is presently facing a number of challenges. However, we should view China's economic development from a comprehensive, dialectical and long-term perspective, because the Chinese economy has the condition, the ability and the confidence to turn crisis into opportunity and gain initiative in development. If you have any questions about China's economic development, please feel free to let us know. We are more than willing to provide you with better information services. Thanks again to Mr. Mao, and thank you all. Today's press conference is hereby concluded.

Translated and edited by Zhu Bochen, Li Huiru, Mi Xingang, Zhou Jing, Zhang Rui, Wu Jin, Li Xiao, Zhang Tingting, Fan Junmei, Duan Yaying, Wang Yanfang, Wang Yiming, Wang Qian, Wang Wei, Qin Qi, Yang Xi, Xiang Bin, Guo Xiaohong, Lin Liyao, Scott Rainen. In case of any dispute over a discrepancy, the Chinese version is deemed to prevail.

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