HIGHER QUAL­ITY AIMED FOR HOME­MADE GOODS

Move to raise stan­dards of key prod­ucts to in­ter­na­tional lev­els by 2020 as con­sumers be­come in­creas­ingly de­mand­ing in choice they make

China Daily (USA) - - P LICY REVIEW - By HUYONGQI huyongqi@chi­nadaily.com.cn

China aims to im­prove the stan­dards and qual­ity of con­sumer goods by 2020 to raise liv­ing stan­dards and prop up do­mes­tic con­sump­tion as part of the sup­ply-side re­form. An ex­ec­u­tive meet­ing of the State Coun­cil presided over by Premier Li Ke­qiang on Aug 24 ap­proved a new guide­line on im­prov­ing con­sumer goods stan­dards and qual­ity for the com­ing five years. The­move­wasini­ti­ated by theGen­eral Ad­min­is­tra­tion of Qual­ity Su­per­vi­sion, In­spec­tion and Quar­an­tine. Con­sump­tion con­trib­uted 73.4 per­cent to GDP growth in the first half of this year, ac­cord­ing to fig­ures by the Na­tional Bureau of Sta­tis­tics. In the next four years, the author­i­ties will pro­mote up­dat­ing present stan­dards and im­prov­ing the qual­ity of con­sumer goods, build­ing glob­ally-re­puted brands and op­ti­miz­ing the mar­ket en­vi­ron­ment, ac­cord­ing to a state­ment re­leased af­ter the meet­ing. The meet­ing also de­cided to es­tab­lish a neg­a­tive list for the pro­duc­tion, and busi­nesses re­lated to, con­sumer goods, lift re­stric­tions on mar­ket ac­cess, as well as pro­mote in­for­ma­tion-shar­ing of qual­ity su­per­vi­sion. To achieve the goals, the gov­ern­ment will grant more fi­nan­cial and reg­u­la­tory sup­port for de­vel­op­ing the sec­tor. In­ter­na­tion­ally ad­vanced stan­dards will boost the qual­ity of con­sumer goods and stim­u­late up­grad­ing of equip­ment man­u­fac­tur­ing , which are key to the strat­egy of “Made in China 2025”, said the state­ment. It also said that these mea­sures are ex­pected to ex­pand ef­fec­tive de­mand and raise peo­ple’s liv­ing stan­dards based on the huge do­mes­tic mar­ket. The cri­te­ria for con­sumer goods still lag be­hind the grow­ing de­mand of do­mes­tic con­sumers. Chi­nese brands still have a long way to go to when build­ing up their in­ter­na­tional com­pet­i­tive­ness. By 2020, stan­dards of con­sumer goods are ex­pected to reach, or ap­prox­i­mate, in­ter­na­tional stan­dards in key ar­eas, Tian Shi­hong, pres­i­dent of the Stan­dard­iza­tion Ad­min­is­tra­tion, said over the week­end.

The value of well-known Chi­nese brands will be sig­nif­i­cantly en­hanced, he added.

“Af­ter 30 years of re­form and openingup fo­cus­ing on eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment, peo­ple no longer just want food and ac­com­mo­da­tion but thirst for goods that can make their lives eas­ier, more com­fort­able and in­spir­ing,” said Xia Xueluan, a pro­fes­sor of so­ci­ol­ogy at Pek­ing Univer­sity.

“As the num­ber of mid­dle-class fam­i­lies in­creases, the high-end mar­ket is ex­pand­ing fast, which drives the gov­ern­ment to fo­cus on ba­sic de­mands and high-end ones too,” said Feng Liguo, a re­searcher at the China En­ter­prise Con­fed­er­a­tion.

Peo­ple no longer just want food and ac­com­mo­da­tion but thirst for goods that can make their lives eas­ier, more com­fort­able and in­spir­ing.”

Mean­while, much of do­mes­tic con­sump­tion was at­tracted to over­seas mar­kets in de­vel­oped economies where stan­dards and qual­ity of goods can outdo those sold at home.

Chi­nese tourists spent 1.5 tril­lion yuan ($226 bil­lion) while trav­el­ing in other coun­tries last year, half of the ex­pen­di­ture went to shop­ping, ac­cord­ing to the Min­istry of Com­merce.

Chi­nese con­sumers now de­sire higher-qual­ity goods than be­fore and do­mes­tic man­u­fac­tur­ers should un­der­stand the chang­ing de­mand as well as per­fect cur­rent tech­nolo­gies and pur­sue new ones to make bet­ter prod­ucts, said Huang Qun­hui, di­rec­tor of the In­sti­tute of In­dus­trial Eco­nom­ics at the Chi­nese Academy of So­cial Sci­ences.

In ad­di­tion, Chi­nese in­vestors and buy­ers were es­ti­mated to pur­chase over­seas real-es­tate prop­er­ties with $150 bil­lion last year, said Wang Jian­lin, chair­man of Wanda Group, a Dalian­based de­vel­oper.

All to­gether, Chi­nese buy­ers spent more than 2.5 tril­lion yuan over­seas last year and this spend­ing should be drawn back only with higher-qual­ity prod­ucts, Wang said.

“We must be sober about this phe­nom­e­non, that it’s im­pos­si­ble to re­strict or stop Chi­nese spend­ing over­seas. But we­can find­ways to win their pur­chas­ing power back,” Wang said.

LI MIN / CHINA DAILY

Xia Xueluan, pro­fes­sor at Pek­ing Univer­sity

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