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Nation Goes on Shopping Spree

Home decoration and appliances spending grew faster than in any other consumer goods area in China, statistics from the National Bureau of Statistics have revealed.

Sales of goods in these categories were major contributors for China's consumption growth in May, according to figures released Friday by the bureau.

The May Day holidays, when hundreds of millions of Chinese people went shopping or travelling, also added fuel to the rapid consumption growth, the bureau said in a report.

Retail sales grew 11.1 percent last month over the same month of 2000 to reach 293 billion yuan (US$35 billion). Retail sales of the first five months combined was 1,500 billion yuan (US$180 billion), which represented a 10.3 percent growth over the same period of last year.

The bureau also provided break-down figures for major contributing sectors. Telecommunication equipment sales surged a whopping 75 percent on a year-on-year basis, interior decoration and construction materials 24.3 percent and home appliances 18.4 percent.

The Internet and the country's growing army of users of fixed and mobile phones have helped the telecommunication equipment market maintain its status as one of most important markets pushing consumption growth.

Interior decoration fever among Chinese urbanites who have in recent years been better able to buy their own homes is behind the busy construction and decoration market.

The bureau said the buying and travelling spree during the May Day holidays (May 1-7) resulted in a 13.4 percent growth in sales income for 25 major Chinese cities.

The unusually warm weather in many parts of China also drove people to air conditioner counters, playing another role in spurring on home appliance sales growth, the bureau said.

However, the bureau pointed out that consumption growth in rural areas was slower than in urban areas.

The consumption growth rate for rural areas in May stood at 12.7 percent. Growth in the countryside was recorded at a much lower rate of 8.5 percent.

(China Daily 06/16/2001)

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