Sup­plies to be ‘abun­dant’ for fes­ti­val shop­ping, of­fi­cial says

China Daily (Canada) - - BUSINESS - By LI JI­ABAO li­ji­abao@chi­nadaily.com.cn

China has the con­fi­dence to guar­an­tee an abun­dant mar­ket sup­ply dur­ing the tra­di­tional Spring Fes­ti­val when celebrations usu­ally boost pur­chases, a se­nior com­merce of­fi­cial said on Thurs­day.

“This year, busi­nesses and com­pa­nies in­creased their in­ven­to­ries by 30 per­cent from their daily fig­ures to meet the shop­ping boom dur­ing the fes­ti­val. The in­ven­tory of large whole­sale busi­nesses can en­sure sales of seven to 15 days. On the whole, the mar­ket sup­ply can be guar­an­teed dur­ing the ap­proach­ing fes­ti­val,” Vice-Com­merce Min­is­ter Fang Aiqing told re­porters in Bei­jing.

The Spring Fes­ti­val falls on Jan 31 this year.

Fang added that the price of agri­cul­tural prod­ucts edged up 1.8 per­cent from Jan 13 to 19 com­pared with the same pe­riod in early De­cem­ber last year be­cause of fa­vor­able weather.

“Sales dur­ing the fes­ti­val hol­i­day are ex­pected to re­main ro­bust this year. Cul­tural and recre­ational ac­tiv­i­ties, such as spend­ing on tourism and movies, will sig­nif­i­cantly in­crease. Spend­ing on medi­u­mand low-end con­sumer goods, in­clud­ing au­to­mo­biles and liquor, will main­tain ro­bust growth amid fru­gal din­ing pro­mo­tions. On­line shop­ping will con­tinue to be a high­light,” Fang said.

On­line shop­ping has ex­pe­ri­enced rapid growth in re­cent years and reached 1.85 tril­lion yuan ($305.7 bil­lion) in 2013, up more than 40 per­cent year-on-year, ac­cord­ing to Fang, who noted that the ra­tio of busi­ness-to-con­sumer on­line trans­ac­tions sig­nif­i­cantly in­creased re­cently.

“On­line shop­ping is a rev­o­lu­tion that not only ex­pands the size of busi­ness but also re­vi­tal­izes the sup­ply chains. In the next step, in­for­ma­tion use, es­pe­cially on­line shop­ping, will re­main a new hot de­vel­op­ment. In par­tic­u­lar, cross-bor­der e-com­merce will ad­vance re­form of lo­gis­tics sys­tems and the build­ing of a new le­gal en­vi­ron­ment and poli­cies,” Fang said.

Mean­while, Fang warned about the po­ten­tial risks to the mar­ket sup­ply dur­ing the fes­ti­val.

Un­ex­pected bad weather con­di­tions will chal­lenge the trans­porta­tion of agri­cul­tural prod­ucts. La­bor short­ages will af­fect the busi­ness op­er­a­tions of house­keep­ing and lo­gis­tics. Poor busi­ness en­vi­ron­ments in some re­gions or in­dus­tries are likely to lead to dis­putes re­gard­ing pur­chases.

In 2013, China’s re­tail sales rose 13.1 per­cent year-on-year to 23.4 tril­lion yuan, with pur­chases con­tribut­ing 50 per­cent to the 7.7 per­cent growth in gross do­mes­tic prod­uct last year, ac­cord­ing to the min­istry.

Fang added that re­tail sales are likely to in­crease about 13 per­cent this year and pres­sure will re­main in place be­cause of eas­ing house­hold in­comes and the high prices of goods.

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