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Print Edition> Business
UPDATED: October 17, 2011 NO. 42 OCTOBER 20, 2011
A Golden Week to Spend
The weeklong National Day holiday sees a record spending blowout, displaying the huge potential of the Chinese consumption market

PEOPLE MOUNTAIN: People visit the Dr. Sun Yat-sen's Mausoleum in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, on October 3. The 119 tourist sites incorporated in the national holiday tourism forecast system received a combined 24.33 million tourists during the National Day holiday week (WANG XIN)

Rong Xinchun, 38, works at a research institute in Beijing. Recently married, he chose to have his wedding during the National Day holiday because both his family and guests had enough time to enjoy the festivities.

The couple spent 21,000 yuan ($3,301.89) to buy jewelry, a tradition for newly wed couples in China; 3,600 yuan ($566.04) on food and catering; 2,000 yuan ($314.47) on hotel accommodations for family members; 4,000 yuan ($628.93) for a wedding dress and tuxedo; and 10,100 yuan ($1,588.05) for new clothes for the couple's parents. The wedding was held in the bride's hometown, Shangluo of Shaanxi Province, costing the couple an additional 4,800 yuan ($754.72) for a travel by plane. In total, Rong and his wife spent 45,500 yuan ($7,154.09).

Rong's spending contributed to the growth of China's retail and catering sectors during the National Day holiday week. According to the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM), on October 1-7, known as the "golden week" for business, sales revenue of the retail and catering sectors totaled 696.2 billion yuan ($109.47 billion), up 17.5 percent year on year.

Boosted sales

The MOFCOM said retail enterprises nationwide and local governments organized various promotional events to boost sales. Beijing offered subsidies on purchases of energy-saving home appliances. Tianjin and Shandong held shopping festivals or shopping month events.

According to figures from the Beijing Commercial Information Consulting Center affiliated to the Beijing Bureau of Commerce, during the October holiday week, the 121 key commercial service enterprises in Beijing realized combined sales revenue of 5.93 billion yuan ($932.39 million), an increase of 13.1 percent from last year. Of the total, sales revenues of department stores, supermarkets, catering enterprises and specialty stores all increased more than 10 percent.

The MOFCOM said on October 1-7, sales revenues of key enterprises in the Tianjin Municipality and Yunnan, Shaanxi and Hebei provinces grew by 26.5 percent, 27 percent, 25 percent and 24.8 percent, respectively, year on year, and those of Gansu, Henan, Shandong, Shanxi and Heilongjiang provinces all grew by about 20 percent.

Since gold prices on international markets dropped by a large margin before the festival, jewelry sellers reduced retail prices of gold jewelry to entice consumers. According to MOFCOM figures, during the golden week, jewelry sales at Yinchuan Xinhua Department Store, Xinjiang Youhao Group and Jiangsu Central Xinya Department Store grew by 102.8 percent, 69.4 percent and 67.3 percent, respectively, year on year.

With fall and winter apparel now on sale, clothes sales grew fast during the holiday week. Sample data of the MOFCOM said apparel sales at Zhuhai International Trade Shopping Plaza and Jiangsu Wuxi Commercial Mansion increased by 96.6 percent and 45.4 percent from last year, and shoe sales at Shijiazhuang Beiguo Department Store grew by more than 70 percent year on year.

Electronic and digital products—smartphones, digital cameras, iPhone 4 and iPad 2—were hot commodities. MOFCOM figures showed sales value of the Shaanxi branch of Suning Appliance, the Jiangsu branch of Gome Electric Appliance, as well as PC Mall, rose by 46.7 percent, 40.9 percent and 28.8 percent respectively.

An Economic Information Daily report, citing figures from the World Luxury Association, said during the holiday week, Chinese people spent a total of 2.6 billion euro ($3.56 billion) outside China on luxuries like watches and leather ware, equivalent to the sales volume of luxuries for three months in the Chinese market.

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