China seeks ways to get middle class to spend more at home
As China moves from an economy based on trade and heavy industry toward one focused on consumer spending, top government officials are looking for ways to convince the growing middle class to spend their money inside the country rather than abroad.
Last year, the Chinese people spent 1.2 trillion yuan ($184.86 billion) overseas said a spokesperson for the top economic planner on Monday.
China has a shortage of high-end commodities and an “unsound consumption environment,” Zhao Chenxin, of the National Development and Reform Commission, told a press conference.
He said the government would try to solve this problem by opening the market wider to private capital and loosen restrictions on foreign enterprises, while encouraging innovation among all firms. He also promised stricter regulations to protect intellectual property and guarantee product quality.
Other ideas for liberalizing the market, improving services and giving firms incentives to produce better products include opening more duty-free shops, exploring new channels to expand imports and developing consumer credit services.
Consumption contributed 66.4% to gross domestic product last year, up 15.4 percentage points from 2014. The service sector contributed 50.5% to the economy, up from 48.1% in 2014.