Electronics stores, coffee chains and even local authorities in China are slashing prices and handing out millions of dollars worth of discount coupons to kick start an economy battered by gradually easing, virus-fighting restrictions on movement, reported Reuters.
GOME Retail Holdings and Suning.com Co plan to hand out over RMB 620 million ($88 million) worth of vouchers, while Alibaba Group Holding’s Alipay is giving away 10 million discount tokens for 10,000 retailers on its app. JD.com said from Thursday it will give out RMB 1.5 billion ($212 million) worth of coupons for branded goods in categories including electronics.
The promotions reflect concern that the outbreak has depressed consumer appetite and could have a lingering impact, even as the number of new locally transmitted cases has dropped.
Retail sales in the world’s second-largest economy shrank by a fifth in January-February from the same period a year earlier, government data showed, during which time China began taking dramatic measures to curb the spread of the virus, shutting transport links and asking millions of people to stay home.