Xinhua Commentary: Spring Festival spending highlights momentum of China's economy

Updated: February 20, 2024 Source: Xinhua News Agency
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Tourists watch a dragon dance performance at the Zhengding ancient city in Shijiazhuang, north China's Hebei Province, Feb. 15, 2024. More Chinese people nowadays choose to go on a journey during the Spring Festival to experience different cultures and lunar new year atmosphere. (Photo by Chen Qibao/Xinhua)

BEIJING, Feb. 19 (Xinhua) -- China's eight-day Spring Festival holiday for the Year of the Dragon witnessed a booming consumer market, highlighting the vitality and momentum of the Chinese economy.

Data from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism shows that 474 million domestic tourism trips were made during the Spring Festival holiday, marking a 34.3 percent increase from the same period last year and an increase of 19 percent compared to the pre-pandemic level in 2019. Domestic tourists spent about 632.69 billion yuan (about 89.07 billion U.S. dollars) in total, up 7.7 percent from the same period in 2019.

The box office revenue during the holiday reached 8.02 billion yuan, hitting a new record for such a period, according to the State Film Administration.

The online transactions also saw a robust increase. NetsUnion Clearing Corporation, a Chinese online payment clearing house, and card payment giant China UnionPay processed an average of 2.63 billion online transactions or around 1.25 trillion yuan in value per day from Feb. 9 to 17. The figures represent an increase of 18.6 percent and 8.0 percent respectively compared to the previous Spring Festival holiday.

Different from the Western dragon, the Chinese dragon symbolizes good luck and prosperity in traditional Chinese culture. Robust consumption during the festival is encouraging and illustrative of the increasingly important role that consumption plays in the country's economic growth. This positive trend marks a solid start for the world's second-largest economy as it begins the new year.

China is the world's second's largest consumer market. Last year, its total retail sales of consumer goods grew by 7.2 percent to reach 47.15 trillion yuan last year, hitting a record high. Final consumption expenditure contributed 82.5 percent to China's economic growth last year, up 43.1 percentage points year on year.

China's super-large market, ongoing urbanization and evolving consumption structure provide broad space for consumption growth. And such huge potential will continuously translate into real consumption as the country expands domestic demand, through developing digital, green and health promotion consumption and boosting spending on big-ticket items such as new energy vehicles and electronic products, among other moves.

Given the sustained economic recovery and overall improvement of the employment landscape, residents' income is expected to continue growing steadily, thereby bolstering their purchasing power. The consumption potential of the Chinese market will be further unleashed this year, boosting the momentum of China's economic recovery.  

Editor: Yu Huichen