Global econ­omy to wit­ness golden week as Lu­nar New Year spend­ing surges

Global Times - - Bizcomment - By Hu Wei­jia The au­thor is a re­porter with the Global Times. bi­zopin­ion@ glob­al­

Spring Fes­ti­val, a tra­di­tional hol­i­day in China, is likely to morph into a global spend­ing spree this year.

As the most sig­nif­i­cant cel­e­bra­tion in China, the fes­ti­val of­fi­cially be­gins on the Chi­nese Lu­nar New Year Eve, which this year falls on Thurs­day.

Ring­ing in the New Year usu­ally means fol­low­ing a set of tra­di­tional Chi­nese cus­toms, but in re­cent years the coun­try has seen the de­vel­op­ment of new modes of din­ing, shop­ping and fam­ily gath­er­ings.

In North­west China’s Xin­jiang Uyghur Au­ton­o­mous Re­gion, for ex­am­ple, the first batch of seafood im­ported di­rectly from Pak­istan re­cently ar­rived at Urumqi’s air­port. Thanks to ef­forts to push for­ward the China-Pak­istan Eco­nomic Cor­ri­dor, which is de­signed to con­nect the Gwadar Port in Pak­istan with Xin­jiang, some fam­i­lies will feast on fish from Pak­istan at their re­union din­ners on the Lu­nar New Year’s Eve.

In turn, Spring Fes­ti­val will be­come one of the big­gest shop­ping sprees in the world, as Chi­nese peo­ple shop for im­ported goods such as fruit from South­east Asian coun­tries.

In 2017, sales in the cater­ing and re­tail sec­tor stood at 840 bil­lion yuan ($132.5 bil­lion) dur­ing the week-long Spring Fes­ti­val hol­i­day, ac­cord­ing to data from the Min­istry of Com­merce.

The fig­ure might reach nearly 1 tril­lion yuan this year, and the emer­gence of new trade routes and busi­ness mod­els such as cross-bor­der e-com­merce will help busi­nesses all over the world ben­e­fit from the shop­ping spree this year.

Also, Chi­nese peo­ple have be­come in­creas­ingly keen to travel over­seas, with 6.15 mil­lion over­seas trips dur­ing the hol­i­day in 2017. Dur­ing this year’s Spring Fes­ti­val sea­son, Chi­nese tourists are fore­cast to spend more than 100 bil­lion yuan over­seas, turn­ing it into a golden week for the global econ­omy.

Also im­por­tantly, 2018 is the 40th an­niver­sary of China’s re­form and open­ing-up pol­icy. Dur­ing this year’s week-long Spring Fes­ti­val hol­i­day, boom­ing tourism and re­tail sales will also of­fer a win­dow onto the enor­mous pur­chas­ing power of the coun­try’s grow­ing mid­dle class.

Con­sump­tion has re­placed in­vest­ment as the main en­gine of eco­nomic growth in the world’s se­cond-largest econ­omy, and peo­ple around the world will soon wit­ness the amaz­ing power of China’s con­sumers.

In 2018, China’s con­sump­tion de­mand is likely to be­come a driv­ing force to re­shape global man­u­fac­tur­ing chains and trade routes.

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