Chiang Mai, Vietnam (AFP) – The cost of buying Chinese clothes at the fashion show wore down dramatically on Saturday, with sales down nearly 20% from the week before and prices falling even further as many people were spending more time on social media.
The cost of the biggest clothes show in the world rose in the first week of April to the highest level since the Great Recession, with a record-breaking 11.7 billion yuan ($1.1 billion) spent on clothes from the Chinese market.
The number of clothes sold increased by 17.8% to 9,929,000, according to the National Statistics Office, while the total spent on the event was 6,566,000 yuan, an increase of 8.6%.
The surge in sales comes as China’s economy has been growing, buoyed by a boom in exports and the rapid rise of internet use and online shopping.
The latest figures show that China’s economic output grew by 8.5% in April from a year earlier to reach 2.45 trillion yuan.
The economy is expected to expand by 2.4% in 2017 and by 2% in 2018, according government data.
The market for clothing, shoes and accessories in China grew more than 10% to more than 7 trillion yuan in the past year, according a report from the consultancy IHS Global Insight.
The figure represents a 25% rise in sales compared with a year ago, when the same brands accounted for only 6.2% of sales.IHS estimated the market will expand by 10% this year and by 10.6% in 2021.
“Sales are at a level that they haven’t been in a while, with the market seeing a surge in demand from both overseas and domestic buyers,” IHS China director-general Mark Zandi said.
“There is a strong and sustained demand for Chinese brands and consumers are buying more.
This has created a virtuous cycle that is providing a lot of benefits to the economy.”
China’s government has been working to boost consumption and improve the country’s image.
Its plans include the introduction of a nationwide shopping tax to encourage people to spend more, and to allow stores to accept credit cards, in a bid to improve the nation’s image in the eyes of overseas investors.
The government is also pushing for the introduction in the coming months of a new nationwide sales tax, in line with a national budget, to encourage businesses to make more money.
It has also pledged to expand a nationwide online shopping tax, with companies expected to have to collect a fee from customers to make online purchases.
China’s economy grew by 6.9% in the second quarter, surpassing the 6.7% growth predicted by the IMF.
However, the IMF cut its growth forecast for the first quarter from 7.3% to 6.5%.
Inflation rose to 6%, the highest rate since 2009, as the number of consumers purchasing more was driven up by an influx of overseas buyers.
The official Chinese currency, the renminbi, hit an all-time high of 9,879.88 US cents per Chinese yuan, or 2.237 yuan per dollar.
Chinese authorities have tightened controls on foreign currency purchases, curbing exports, restricting travel and reducing the number and type of items that can be bought in stores.
The US has imposed sanctions on several officials and businesses linked to corruption.