China announces steps to boost sales of cars, electronics

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China seeks to encourage regions to expand yearly car purchase quotas and stimulate second-hand vehicle sales. (AFP pic)

BEIJING: Chinese authorities announced a raft of measures on Friday to help boost sales of automobiles and electronics, and warned local governments from rolling out policies that would fuel vicious competition, as they seek to shore up a slowing economy.

Regions will be encouraged to increase annual car purchase quotas and efforts will be made to support sales of second-hand vehicles, said the statement on automobile consumption published by 13 government agencies including state planner National Development and Reform Commission.

As China’s post-pandemic economic recovery slows, policymakers have identified the country’s automobile sector as a key lever which they want to use to shore up growth. In June, they unexpectedly extended a purchase tax break on new energy vehicles (NEVs) until 2027.

But domestic consumer demand has remained weak and the world’s largest auto market has been grappling with a price war triggered by Tesla in January that has since spread to more than 40 brands offering discounts on their vehicles.

In March, a top industry association urged the auto industry and authorities to cool the ‘price-cut hype’ to ensure the healthy and stable development of the industry.

The Friday statement aimed at encouraging automobile consumption echoed this. “Localities must not roll out protectionist policies and avoid vicious competition,” it said.

A separate statement on supporting sales of electronics products said authorities would encourage scientific research institutes and market entities to actively apply domestic artificial intelligence (AI) technology to improve intelligence levels of electronic products.

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