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China to expand high- and medium-end imports

China will expand high- and medium-end product imports to further promote consumption upgrades, spokesperson from the Ministry of Commerce said on Thursday.
The country plans to launch measures at an appropriate time to expand high- and medium-end product imports, establish convenient living service circles, promote green recycle consumption, supply chain innovation and application and escalate high-end pedestrian streets while building convenient consumption service centers in rural and urban areas, said Gao Feng, the MOC spokesperson.
China's shopping center comprehensive index, a barometer to evaluate development and operation conditions for shopping centers in major cities, stood at 67.5 in the first quarter of this year, increasing 0.3 from the fourth quarter of last year, according to a report on China's shopping center development index released by MOC.
The shopping center market had a good start this year, and overall consumption will maintain an upbeat development momentum with diversified renting types and innovative models, Gao said at a press conference on Thursday.
"Residents' consumption still has a relatively large growth space, with continuously expanding middle-income groups and further implementation of rural vitalization and precision poverty alleviation," Gao said.
Effective supply in the market will continue to increase, as supply-side reform deepens and consumption will keep upgrading with the emergence of innovative technologies and new business models, Gao added.
During the process of consumption upgrading, consumers have increasing demand for high-quality products and brands and the market is short of such high-end products, said Zhao Ping, director of the international trade research department at the Academy of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade.
"Developing policy and infrastructure which can satisfy the demand for consumption upgrades is key to improving the consumption growth system, which plays a fundamental role in economic growth," Zhao said.
Statistics show total retail sales of social consumer goods was 9027.5 billion yuan ($1,422.72 billion), with a year-on-year growth of 9.8 percent in the first quarter this year.
During the same period, consumption's contribution to economic growth reached 77.8 percent, 46.5 percentage points higher than contribution from gross capital formation, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics.

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