Chinese New Year Spending Breaks Records, but Growth Rate Slows

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China has ushered in the Year of the Dog with a flurry of spending, according to data released by the Ministry of Commerce and the China National Tourism Administration.

During the Chinese New Year holiday, which lasted from February 15 to 21, Chinese consumers dished out billions of dollars in leisure, travel, and entertainment sectors.

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Chinese travelers made 286 million domestic trips during the holiday period, an increase of 12.1 percent over the previous year, and made approximately 6.5 million overseas trips. Tourism revenue grew by 12.6 percent over the 2017 holiday to reach RMB 475 billion (US$75 billion).

Meanwhile, China’s retail and catering sectors posted a record RMB 926 billion (US$146 billion) worth of sales, a year-on-year increase of 10.2 percent. The Chinese box office recovered from a 2017 holiday slump, registering a 52 percent increase in ticket sales over the previous year.

The robust holiday sales performance bodes well for China’s shift from an investment- and export-driven economy to a consumption-led one, a key pillar of China’s economic transition.

However, while sales totals continue to climb, this year’s spending growth was the lowest since 2005. In 2017, the sales growth rate during the Chinese New Year period was 11.4 percent, and in 2016, 11.2 percent.

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