Many local governments have issued digital consumption vouchers via the country’s dominant mobile payment platforms to boost the coronavirus-hit economy, but experts say this is unlikely to become a regularly used policy tool, reported Caixin.
Consumption vouchers, some of which are digital and accessible through platforms including Ant Financial Services Group’s Alipay and Tencent Holdings’ WeChat Pay, have been distributed across 28 provincial-level regions and over 170 prefecture-level cities, Wang Bingnan, a deputy head of the Ministry of Commerce, said at abriefing last week.
Wang said that the value of the already distributed vouchers, which can be chiefly used for retail and catering spending, amounted to over RMB 19 billion ($2.7 billion). Wang said that the vouchers have boosted consumption growth and offered a helping hand to businesses that had been hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak.
Ant Financial CEO Hu Xiaoming, also known as Simon Hu, said on Wednesday at a forum in Beijing that over 100 cities have used Alipay to distribute digital consumption vouchers. Hu said that Alipay’s data showed that for every RMB 1 distributed through the vouchers, consumers are spending an extra RMB 8. In some areas, this figure has reached RMB 15, he said.