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China sees robust consumption during Spring Festival holiday

Shops, restaurants and scenic spots across China reported robust sales during the week-long Chinese Lunar New Year holiday, data from the Ministry of Commerce showed Wednesday.

Sales in the retail and catering sectors reached 926 billion yuan (about 146 billion U.S. dollars) from Feb. 15 to 21, up 10.2 percent from last year’s holiday, the ministry said in a statement.

The country saw over 386 million tourists during the holiday this year, which generated 475 billion yuan (approx. 75.34 billion U.S. dollars) in tourism revenue, according to the China National Tourism Administration. The number represented an increase of 12.6 percent year on year.

In addition to the traditional lunar New Year rituals of attending temple fairs and making special Spring Festival purchases in supermarkets, people are increasingly opting for online shopping, meal booking, and mobile payment.

Many customers chose to buy quality and high-tech products as Lunar New Year gifts.

“Our products such as the noise-canceling headphones and projectors with projection touchscreen are becoming popular gifts for parents, relatives and friends as special purchases for the Spring Festival,” said Yao Wei, manager of an electronics store in south China’s Shenzhen City.

“I think the technology products are much better than traditional Spring Festival gifts such as food and drinks. So I’m thinking of buying something for my younger brother,” said a young man browsing in the store.

Consumption in culture and entertainment was also strong, with China’s box office raking in 4.6 billion yuan from Feb. 16, when the Lunar New Year arrived, to Feb. 20, up nearly 60 percent from a year earlier.

“People tend to pay for experiencing culture, delicacies and scenery that represent a higher-level consumption demand,” said Chen Han, senior director with the big data department of China UnionPay, a state-owned Chinese financial services corporation headquartered in Shanghai City.

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