E-coupons Bring Comforts of Culture
The Beijing Electronic Cultural Consumption Coupons and Beijing Culture- Easy Cards aim to provide residents an easier and more convenient cultural life.
At the end of March 2017, the State- owned Cultural Assets Supervision and Administration Office of the People’s Government of Beijing Municipality held a launch ceremony at the Beijing Books Building for issuing Beijing’s Electronic Culture Consumption Coupons. Using the coupons has become a first for Beijing’s residents in cultural consumption.
In the first year of the 13th Five-year Plan (2016–2020), cultural consumption was first included in a programme of the Chinese Government. Beijing Municipality is China’s cultural centre and has huge potential to advance its cultural consumption based on its cultural heritage and resources. Promoting these coupons, Beijing’s residents can benefit from policies on cultural consumption and gain more individual choices in this sector.
Enhancing Economic Growth
In recent years the Chinese Government has been expanding and guiding cultural consumption with policies including The Guideline to Further Boost Consumption as a Key Component in Driving Economic Development (Guofano.66) and The Opinions of the Improvement of Tourism, Culture, Sports, Health, Elderly Care, and Educational Trainings to Please Consumers (Guofa No.85). In 2014 the People’s Government of Beijing Municipality formulated The Opinions on Promoting Cultural Consumption (Jingzhengfa  No. 44), becoming China’s first document on the policy of local cultural consumption.
Over the years, Beijing Municipality’s cultural consumption has seen steady growth and its variety of cultural products have advanced development of the cultural and creative industry. In 2016, the value added of the municipality’s cultural and creative industry was 357.05 billion yuan, a growth of 12.3 percent over the previous year; the industry’s output accounted for 14.3 percent of the municipality’s GDP, up by 0.5 percentage points from the previous year. The cultural and creative industry has become a pillar industry of the municipality and played an important role in driving economic growth.
In 2016, the State- owned Cultural Assets Supervision and Administration Office of the People’s Government of Beijing Municipality and the Bureau of Finance worked together to try to issue electronic cultural consumption coupons to continue to expand and guide cultural consumption and enable more consumers to share the benefits of cultural reform and development. More than 50 cooperative organisations from culture and arts, press and publications, radio, television and film, and electrical business sectors received 597,400 consumers and coupons valued at 10 million yuan were issued and used during three months, which reached a total output of 67.5455 million yuan. Cooperative organisations provided more than 20 million
yuan as a profit-sharing promotion to boost economic growth for the municipality.
In 2017, issuing coupons was still listed for improving people’s well-being by the municipal government. The State-owned Cultural Assets Supervision and Administration Office of the People’s Government of Beijing Municipality increases the amount of the coupons issued and electronic coupons worth 50 million yuan will be issued and distributed to residents in groups on special occasions. The first group of coupons valued at 5 million yuan was issued from the end of March to April and 36 cooperative organisations were selected. From May to June, coupons valued at 10 million yuan will be issued and 160 cooperative organisations offer promotional activities. From July to August, 10-million-yuan coupons (the third batch) will be issued to support the Beijing Cultural Consumption Season. The fourth group of electronic coupons valued at 15 million yuan will be issued from September to December. The value of the last batch will be 10 million yuan and and will be issued before April 2018.
If the proportion of leverage for stimulating consumption is 1:5, the 50 million yuan worth of coupons will create a direct consumption of 250 million yuan and bring correlative consumption up to more than 2.5 billion yuan.
Guiding Cultural Consumption
In order to adapt to consumption habits of Beijing’s residents, the State-owned Cultural Assets Supervision and Administration Office of the People’s Government of Beijing Municipality expanded subsidised fields from four in 2016 to seven in 2017. They include performing arts, books and audiovisual products, cinemas, derivative products of the cultural and creative industry, cultural tourism, entertainment and sports. The office subdivided and selected fields according to mainstream values including promoting traditional Chinese cultures, following market laws development and tilting toward specific groups of consumers based on The Classification of Cultural and Creative Industry and its Related Industries in Beijing Municipality and Beijing Municipal Bureau of Statistics on the Statistics Methods of Total Consumption.
Performing arts include music, song and dance, dramas, operas, stages plays, children’s plays and quyi (Chinese folk art forms such a singing ballads, storytelling, comic dialogue, clapper talk and cross talk). Coupon holders can use their coupons when purchasing tickets at the Beijing Poly Theatre. Coupons don't conflict with the theatre’s packages, which means the theatre offers an additional discount. Peking Opera and children’s plays are important areas covered by the coupons but have not covered celebrity shows.
Books and audiovisual products also include magazines and digital books. To implement The Opinion on Support of the Development of Physical Bookstores initiated by 11 ministries and committees of China, the office increases its support for consumers who buy books in bookstores but reduces online bookstores’ discounts. At the Beijing Book Fair in April 2017, in addition to exhibitors’ discounts, consumers can also enjoy discounts brought by these coupons. Consumers who bought books in the fair’s main exhibition area where coupons are available will enjoy multiple discounts. An official of the organising committee said, “The discount offered at the 2017 event sets a record among the previous fairs.”
Film consumption includes going to the cinema and viewing films online. The office expands subsidies for matinees and elderly filmgoers to deal with the municipality's decline at the box office based on the Film Industry Promotion Law of China.
Derivative products of the cultural and creative industry include derivatives of cultural relics, intangible cultural heritage, handicrafts and traditional Chinese stationery. The SOCASAO focuses on offering
subsidies for traditional Chinese or Beijing's cultural products but does not support high priced works of art that are considered as part of collection and investment.
Entertainment includes karaoke or KTV clubs. Karaoke, with its good reputation and governmental recognition, offers subsidised discounts for the elderly.
Cultural tourism includes “Beijing Gifts” and other tourism products with a Beijing style. For students receiving a compulsory education, this includes parent-child activities, popular science experience and red tourism. Travel agencies offer folk experience tours including one-day tours of traditional Beijing culture and others scenic areas in suburban Beijing.
Sports consumption includes presenting Olympic Winter Games culture, experiencing winter sports, watching competitions, and promoting winter sports to communities and university campuses.
The office launched the first group of 36 cooperative organisations where electronic coupons are available, including 12 organisations that specialise in books and audiovisual products, 11 cinemas and 9 theatres and acting troupes. They cover derivative products of the cultural and creative industry, tourism and entertainment, and highlight three traditional areas of cultural consumption: performing arts, books and films. Additionally, the number of outlets where the coupons are available has increased to about 160, covering Beijing’s 16 districts: five in Dongcheng, eight in Xicheng, seven in Chaoyang, three in Haidian, two in Yanqing and one for each of the other 11 districts.
In 2017, the period of issuing coupons is longer than before, which began from March 30, 2017 and will end in April 2018, covering New Year’s Day and Spring Festival of 2018. The subsidised proportion was 20 percent during the pilot period and now ranges between 10 to 30 percent. The government increases subsidies for promoting mainstream values, traditional Chinese culture and cultural consumption of the elderly.
Creating Win-win Situations
Many benefits come with the coupons. The method of receiving the coupons is simple: register with a name on the public account number on Wechat of Beijing Wenhuika Guangfang Fuwuhao (Beijing Cultural Easy Card) and receive coupons. One can also apply for the Beijing Cultural Easy Card through China Minsheng Bank and connect the card online to apply for coupons.
The coupons are divided into two types: general and special coupons and have six different denominations: 5 yuan, 10 yuan, 20 yuan, 30 yuan, 50 yuan and 100 yuan. The general coupons can be used in cooperative physical stores and special coupons can be used in corresponding cooperative stores or their online business platforms. When spending 25 yuan, 50 yuan, 100 yuan, or 150 yuan for a single transaction, one can use 5 yuan, 10 yuan, 20 yuan, and 30 yuan coupons respectively. In key cultural consumption areas, the proportion of using coupons will be moderately increased but will not exceed 30 percent for a single transaction. One can only use one coupon per transaction but they can't be used altogether.
When paying for purchases at a store, a cashier tells the customer the face value of a coupon he or she can use after scanning a two-dimensional code. The customer then pays the balance after a coupon is used.
Consumers can enquire about information such as address of cooperative organisations through the service account number and Wechat subscription of the Beijing Culture-easy Card, and the
card’s official website. When in doubt on the application and use of coupons, a hotline number is available to call. Consumers also have the right to supervise the quality of service of cooperative organisations and submit complaints of poor service.
In 2017, in order to ensure that consumers enjoy benefits of the government policy, the coupons are issued according to corresponding rules with its optimised procedure. A real-name system has become a social trend. This system will play a significant role in establishing an individual’s good reputation and building a harmonious social environment. To ensure the coupons are valid and issued, one can apply for the coupons by registration.
Zhou Maofei, executive director general of the State-owned Cultural Assets Supervision and Administration Office of the People’s Government of Beijing Municipality, introduced that a real-name system could ensure the safety of personal accounts and avoided identity theft, helping the government protect consumers’ interests. The government can learn about consumers’ habits and demands by analysing data to formulate policies for benefitting people and promoting consumption; the government needs to figure out an annual personal cap on using the coupons based on a real-name system; consumers don't need to worry about disclosure of personal information as cooperative organisations will strictly protect the consumers’ personal information and prohibit using information for making a profit.
Annual personal cap on using the coupons is 500 yuan. In 2017, a third-party institution for managing the coupons is introduced to track the entire performance and carry out satisfaction surveys on consumers and cooperative organisations, helping adjust optimised measures to benefit consumers and the businesses.
The State-owned Cultural Assets Supervision and Administration Office of the People’s Government of Beijing Municipality revised and drafted old and new regulations to standardise workflow and strengthen the coupons’ fund management and ensure continuity and stability of policies over the next few years.
Ensuring Quality Service
As Beijing Municipality gathers its cultural resources, any of Beijing's registered businesses that specialise in cultural products and services have the chance to become a cooperative organisation.
The State-owned Cultural Assets Supervision and Administration Office of the People’s Government of Beijing Municipality released an announcement on its official website to select the coupons’ cooperative organisations. It focuses on organisations that offer cultural products and services with mainstream value and featuring traditional Chinese culture.
According to an annual work programme, the office organises experts to evaluate and select pre-qualified candidates from a reserve pool as planned cooperative organisations of the year, which will be publicised for a time. Publicised organisations will become cooperative organisations of the year if not objected during that time period.
After a unit is approved as a cooperative organisation, its business information, products and special offer activities will be promoted with various forms by SOCASAO. The cooperative organisation will be equipped with payment terminals and
If a cooperative organisation is selected as an outstanding cooperative organisation, it obtains qualification of a cooperative organisation of next year without being examined and approved. It will be recommended to become a cooperative organisation of Beijing Cultural Consumption Season if it meets corresponding requirements. The office will also establish an exit mechanism of a
cooperative organisation and implement dynamic management to ensure quality service.
In 2017, the office put forward goals to advance the coupons. As far as social benefits are concerned, the office selects cooperative organisations to gather high- quality cultural products, support classics, guide orientation towards culture, healthy consumption trends, and promote traditional Chinese culture and socialist core values. For economic benefits, the office seeks to expand cultural consumption of Beijing Municipality to greatly enhance consumer spending.
The State-owned Cultural Assets Supervision and Administration Office of the People’s Government of Beijing Municipality allows consumers to have more freedom to choose, stimulate the public’s desire on cultural consumption and advance the cultural market's development. The office will further guide cultural businesses to provide more improved products and services.
Promoting Cultural Consumption
Expanding cultural consumption is a main driving force for developing the cultural and creative industry and also one of the important functions of the State- owned Cultural Assets Supervision and Administration Office of the People’s Government of Beijing Municipality. At present, the office presents strategies combining “a season, a card, coupons and a list of cultural products” to promote cultural consumption in the Beijing Municipality.
The “season” refers to the Beijing Cultural Consumption Season. Beijing Municipality has held four consecutive sessions of the event. In 2016, during the 4th event, there were over 21,000 activities, attracting 77.762 million participants with a total spending of 16.08 billion yuan. In 2017, more people are expected to benefit from the 5th event.
The “card” refers to the Beijing Culture- Easy Card. In September 2013, the office started to issue the card to promote cultural consumption. The card covers cultural resources of the municipality’s 16 districts. They include bookstores, cinemas, theatres, educational and training institutions, scenic areas, e- commerce businesses, businesses in animation and online games, cultural and entertainment businesses, works of art and their trades, libraries, museums, art galleries and other cultural enterprises and institutions. Beijing residents can apply for the card free of charge and receive discounted cultural products and services at cultural organisations. At present, there are more than 1,000 cooperative cultural organisations and their outlets reach over 2,000, covering businesses areas of the municipality.
In 2016, the card was upgraded, and the office entered into a strategic cooperation agreement with the Beijing Branch of China Minsheng Bank and Beijing International Advertising and Communication Group Company Limited to present Minsheng Wenhui Lianmingka (“Minsheng Wenhui Co-branded Card”). In addition to offering discounts and loyalty points services, the card can perform more services such as payments and other valueadded services.
“Lists” refer to lists of cultural products based on the Beijing Cultural Consumption Season. As the cultural and creative industry grows rapidly and cultural resources need to develop high- quality brands, cultural businesses need to have brand cultivation so that consumers can enjoy cultural products and services. Beijing Cultural Consumption Season gathers cultural resources to promote brands of those products, showing a layout of the municipality’s cultural consumption and high- end products and services.
Selecting highlights of “the Brands of the Cultural Consumption of Beijing Municipality” promotes exchanges of the industry, application of research findings, market development and innovation. During the event of 2016, the office conducted five ranking lists including “Top 10 Cultural and Creative Products,” “Top 10 Cultural Tourism Tours” and “Top 10 Landmarks of Cultural Consumption.” During the 2017 event, it will continue to present ranked lists giving the public the opportunity to vote for lists.
Cultural organisations of the municipality are increasingly encouraged to offer a variety of better products and services with competitive prices based on the government’s measures such as issuing coupons, holding Beijing Cultural Consumption Season, presenting the Beijing Cultural-easy Card and conducting annual ranking lists of cultural products and services. Implementing these measures will create a win-win situation, giving consumers an experience of the municipality’s cultural development and economic strength and gain more benefits, giving cooperative organisations perks of additional income.
Scanning this QR code gets you the electronic cultural consumption coupon
The electronic cultural consumption coupons with different face values
The Beijing Culture-easy Card and China Minsheng Bank are integrated.