Farmers go on buying spree with appliance subsidy 

Updated: 2008-01-21 10:01

BEIJING -- News of the government's recent offer to grant a 13 percent subsidy for household appliances has thrown Chinese farmers into a crazy scramble for televisions, refrigerators and mobile phones -- the three product categories on the preferential policy list.

Crazy buying

"I bought a 29-inch color TV set made by Sichuan Changhong Electric Company. It cost me only 1,499 yuan ($207)," said Li Yuanhong, a 57-year-old farmer in Yongxing, a townhip in the southeastern Sichuan Province. "I hope the government would also grant subsidies to LCD TV."

In front of home appliance shops, clusters of farmers crowd about the shop assistants. Some were discussing with their spouse while others were carefully taking out the money but still grasping it in their rough hands before giving it to the assistant.

"The TV sets are great. Sharp images make them worth the money. Look, I just bought one for only 668 yuan," said 72-year-old Xu Guiling excitedly. "It will be easier for me to kill time when my children are making their living in big cities."

Wang Xiaoming, owner of a small appliance shop named Minghong, called the government's plan to stimulate rural spending "inspiring". "Six televisions, four refrigerators and one icebox sold out within half a day. It was common to have no appliances sell out for several days before the subsidy policy was introduced."

Sales figures for Sichuan Changhong Electric Company revealed more than 2,500 appliances were sold to farmers on January 15 -- the first day on which the province started to implement the preferential policy.

"The sales figures of our more than 1,000 distributors are on the rise. The purchasing power of the rural population is amazing, " said Deng Xiaohui, the company's marketing manager.

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