China's slower growth in consumption in line with high-quality growth
Though last year's growth rate in total social retail consumption lowered by 1.2 percentage points compared to 2017, it is in line with China's current development stage and its determination to transform to high-quality growth, Chinese Commerce Minister Zhong Shan said on Saturday.
Consumption remained the biggest driver of economic growth in 2018 for the fifth consecutive year. Total retail sales reached 38.1 trillion yuan, up by 9 percent, according to Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM).
The contribution of final total expenditure to economic growth was 76.2 percent, up by 18.6 percent year-on-year. The share of household spending on services rose to 49.5 percent, and new formats of consumption thrived, with online retail sales increased by 23.9 percent.
In 2019, China will continue to boost consumption, forming a strong domestic market to support the economic growth.
To achieve the goal, the country will further promote urban consumption by providing high-quality products.
The country will also stimulate consumption potential in rural areas, allowing agricultural products to enter the urban market, and launching high quality industrial products in rural markets. To do so, one of the most important tools is expanding e-commerce in rural areas. Total online sales reached 1.37 trillion yuan last year, up by 30.4 percent year-on-year.
China will continue to develop service consumption and optimize service supply structures. While cultural, tourism, sports and online consumption in witnessed robust growth, the country still faces shortages in certain areas.
There is approximately 8 million more aging people in China per year, yet the supply of housekeeping and elder care services can't meet the demand. Meanwhile, there's huge potential to increase rural employment.
In 2018, MOFCOM offered housekeeper training for the workforce and helped 100,000 people from rural areas enter the urban job market. The government will continue the course this year as part of service supply structural optimizing, said Zhong.