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China's Rural Home Appliance Subsidy Drives Sales up

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China's stimulus program for home appliance purchases in rural areas continued to boost sales in the first 11 months, the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) said Monday.

The subsidy program, aimed at spurring domestic consumption, fueled rural purchases of home appliances, which hit 67.3 million units in the January-November period, an increase of 140 percent year on year, said the MOC in an on-line statement.

Sales of subsidized home appliances in rural areas soared 180 percent to 150.41 billion yuan (US$22.62 billion), according to the statement.

Of the three top selling items in rural areas, sales of refrigerators hit 51.02 billion yuan, TV sets 41.63 billion yuan and air conditioners 16.23 billion yuan.

In November alone, 7.83 million subsidized home appliances were sold, up 104 percent year on year, with sales hitting 18.25 billion yuan, up 153 percent.

China launched the subsidy program in February 2009 to stimulate rural consumption amid the global economic downturn.

Under the program, Chinese farmers can receive subsidies equal to 13 percent of the price of about 20,000 designated types of refrigerators, televisions, washing machines, computers, air conditioners, mobile phones, water heaters, microwave ovens and traditional ovens.

Earlier this year, electric bikes, smoke extractors, gas stoves, pressure cookers, electric cookers and DVD players were added to the subsidized list.

(China Daily December 7, 2010)