China to create 5 global consumption hubs as retail sales grow by 23%

Chinese authorities have selected five of China’s major cities – Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Tianjin and Chongqing – to develop into international consumption centres.

On 19 July, China’s Minister of Commerce Wang Wentao announced that the State Council, China’s cabinet, had approved the plans. The five international consumption centres aim to rival other large shopping metropolises such as Tokyo, London and New York. The move is part of a wider aim to expand domestic consumption, as outlined in China’s “14th Five Year Plan”. 

While retail sales rose an impressive 23% year-on-year in the first half of 2021 to 21.2 trillion RMB ($3.28 trillion), concerns have been raised about China’s GDP growth in the second quarter. From April to June, the country’s economy grew by 7.9%. However, the figure was slightly lower than economists’ prediction of 8.1%. It was also less than half the growth rate recorded in quarter one (18.3%), which was the highest figure since China started keeping records in 1992.

Nonetheless, China’s exports strengthened and even beat expectations in June, growing by 32% year-on-year to 3.29 trillion RMB ($281 billion). This marks the thirteenth month of consecutive export growth.

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