Consumption highlighted in Shanghai's economic layout for 2023

At the ongoing first session of the 16th Shanghai municipal people's congress, the city's mayor Gong Zheng highlighted consumption as a key aspect of driving growth.
Consumption highlighted in Shanghai's economic layout for 2023

Visitors enjoy lanterns at Yuyuan Garden in Shanghai on January 11, 2023.

China's financial hub Shanghai on Wednesday set the gross domestic product (GDP) growth target for 2023 at over 5.5 percent, with a package of incentive measures introduced to fulfill the goal.

At the ongoing first session of the 16th Shanghai municipal people's congress, the city's mayor Gong Zheng, in his government work report, highlighted consumption as a key aspect of driving growth.

"Shanghai will strengthen the fundamental role of consumption in economic development. We will give priority to restoring and expanding consumption, and deepen the construction of building Shanghai into an international consumption center," said Gong.

According to the government work report, to boost consumption, the city will propel the development of first-store economy, night-time economy, and live-streaming economy. Meanwhile, the city plans to build a number of distinctive commercial landmarks to further unleash consumption potential.

Stabilizing growth, expanding domestic demand, and promoting consumption, will be at the core of this year's economic layout, according to Xu Xiaoliang, Co-CEO of Fosun International, also a lawmaker in Shanghai.

"Tourism, both domestic and overseas travel, will welcome a huge bounce and quick recovery this year after we optimized the COVID response policy," said Xu.

He took the annual lantern festival at Yuyuan Garden, a key cultural highlight in Shanghai during the Spring Festival celebration, for example. "Since its opening last month, the garden welcomes about 100,000 visitors on average every day," Xu said. "The city is regaining the hustle and bustle."

In his view, raising Shanghai's prominence as a veritable intellectual property (IP) powerhouse, cultivating more local brands with oriental aesthetics, and adopting Metaverse and other cutting-edge technologies to attract young consumers, are effective ways to build Shanghai into an international tourism city.

"Shanghai is already the economic leader of the Yangtze River Delta, and China is the second largest economy in the world. We are very confident that Shanghai will take the lead in expanding domestic demand and promoting consumption in this round," Xu added.

The metropolis in east China is now home to 891 regional headquarters of multinational corporations and 531 foreign R&D centers, according to the report.

Foreign brands also expect a rosy future in the Chinese market, doubling down on their presence in the market with enormous opportunities.

"As China has actively optimized and refined its COVID-19 response, I'm upbeat about the economic prospects in 2023. Actually, the recent New Year holiday has already witnessed a strong recovery in tourism and retail sales in Shanghai," said Dora Liu, deputy CEO of Deloitte China, also a deputy to the municipal legislature.

Meiji, a food giant in Japan, holds optimistic expectations for their performance in the consumer market as the economic recovery gathers steam after China refined its COVID-19 policy.

"We are optimistic about such a huge market as China, and under the Chinese government's policy of common prosperity, people's lives will continue to become rich and substantial in the future, which we believe is beyond doubt," said Tamotsu Matsui, executive officer of Meiji Co., Ltd. He also believes that Chinese consumers will become more aware of health, which will bring more opportunities to the company.

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