The retail sales of consumer goods in China rose 15 percent from last year to 220 billion yuan (US$28.2 billion) during the week-long Spring Festival holiday, said sources with the Ministry of Commerce on Saturday.
Retail sales in the catering industry surged 18 percent over last year's Spring Festival holiday. The figures for central Henan Province, northeastern Heilongjiang Province, and Beijing rose 22 percent, 25 percent, and 20 percent respectively.
Ninety-five percent of the restaurants in Beijing received reservations for family reunion dinners during the holiday.
Meanwhile, high-end household electric appliances and digital products were hot sellers in major cities.
Sales of flat screen TV sets, including liquid crystal display (LCD) sets and plasma screen sets, accounted for 90 percent of the total sales of color TV sets in Beijing, while the sales of high-end mobile phones soared 40 percent in GOME retail stores in Chongqing.
Motorcycles priced between 3,000 yuan and 5,000 yuan sold well in rural areas of central Hubei Province and eastern Jiangsu Province as more and more farmers purchased vehicles to make New Year visits to relatives and friends.
Farmers' consumption capability is on the rise, according to the ministry. This is partly because China's rural cooperative medical care system, under which the government helps fund farmers' medical expenses, will cover 80 percent of counties this year and partly because students in rural areas will be exempted from paying tuition fees in the nine-year compulsory education.
China has three Golden Week holidays every year, which are the Spring Festival holiday, May 1 Labor Day holiday and October 1 National Day holiday. The Chinese government launched Golden Week holidays in 1999, in the hope of encouraging people to spend more money for the benefit of economic growth.
In 2006, the retail sales of China's consumer goods rose 14.5 percent over that in 2005 to 300 billion yuan during the October National Day holiday.
(Xinhua News Agency February 25, 2007)