Region/Countries: Asia, China Industry: Other Date: November 2019

Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: China's 2019 retail sales are estimated at $5.6 trillion, versus $5.5 trillion for the U.S.

China’s National Bureau of Statistics has released the latest total retail sales of consumer goods and from January to October, that total goods reached ¥33.5 trillion ($4.7 trillion), up by 8.1 percent year-over-year. At the beginning of this year, a report was published by research firm eMarketer stating that China may overtake the U.S. as the world's biggest retail market. The report predicted that China's total retail sales would grow 7.5% to reach $5.6 trillion in 2019, while those of the U.S. would grow 3.3% to $5.5 trillion. The result has been a marked rise in purchasing power and average spending per person.

By midnight Nov. 11, the largest shopping spree came to an end and Alibaba, the initiator of the Double 11 shopping carnival in 2009, achieved record high sales of ¥268.4 billion ($38.4 billion) this year, which generated more revenues than Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined in the U.S.. When Alibaba’s e-commerce gala began, the China International Import Expo (CIIE) had just ended in Shanghai. In this event, the value of intended deals exceeded $71 billion, up 23% from the first expo in 2018. These numbers reflected the growing purchasing power of younger Chinese generations and the huge potential of the Chinese market. During the keynote speech in the opening ceremony of the CIIE, Chinese president Xi Jinping also stressed that China would stick to the policy of expanding market opening and improving business environment.

On Nov. 28, the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State Council jointly released a guideline to promote high-quality development of trade, with a key focus on forging stable and better-structured trade development as part of the country's ongoing efforts to implement deep transformation and upgrading of the economy. This new guideline requires establishing an evaluation system for high-quality trade development in terms of indicators, policies, statistics and performance by 2022, aiming for significant improvement in trade structure and efficiency.

Another highlight of this guideline says China will continue to expand imports. It will lower its tariffs and institutional costs to further stimulate imports and optimize the structure of imports. It will expand imports of advanced technologies, equipment and components and parts, and will continue to support imports of consumer goods, medicine and health care and recovery equipment. These changes can help make up for the shortage of some resources for production, and can help lower the price of certain products in the domestic market while improving their quality. Wisconsin companies can benefit from these policies in the China market.