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

By Hu Weijia Source:Global Times Published: 2018/2/13 22:38:40

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.

The author is a reporter with the Global Times.


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