China has already issued consumption vouchers worth close to USD$2.7 billion in a bid to stem the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Chinese economy.
On 8 May the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) announced that according to initial estimates over 19 billion yuan (approx. USD$2.69 billion) in consumption vouchers had been issued by over 170 local government authorities spread across 28 provinces.
The Chinese government hopes that these measures will spur consumption and shore up economic confidence in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Previous news reports indicated that China plans to eventually issue more than $7 billion in consumption vouchers, with an especial focus on helping out small enterprises.
Fintech and online companies have played an especially prominent role in facilitating the distribution of consumption vouchers via apps or other digital means.
Chinese payments giant UnionPay has helped issue over $56 million in digital consumption vouchers, while Alipay has issued vouchers that have helped to stimulate nearly 5 billion yuan in consumption across 30 provinces, including Zhejiang, Guangxi, Guangdong, Jiangxi, Fujian, Inner Mongolia and Sichuan.
According to domestic media reports over 90% of the beneficiaries of consumption vouchers are micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.
The consumption vouchers already appear to have made a positive impact, with Alipay’s “China Small Vendor Economy May 1 Report” (国小店经济五一报告) indicating that the single day revenue of 8 million small vendors on Labour Day in 2020 exceeded levels for the same day in 2019.