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Xinhua Credit
China Macro-economy

Economic Watch: Power consumption reveals China's economic vitality

May 27, 2019


Abstract : As a key barometer of economic activity, China's power consumption rose 5.8 percent year on year in April, reflecting a flourishing development of new economic drivers and consumption upgrading.

BEIJING, May 27 (Xinhua) -- As a key barometer of economic activity, China's power consumption rose 5.8 percent year on year in April, reflecting a flourishing development of new economic drivers and consumption upgrading.

Total power use reached 553.4 billion kilowatt hours in April. The increase of power consumption on new energy vehicles, photovoltaic production, and big data services were all over 50 percent, according to the National Energy Administration.

"Provinces in the southwest and the central and southern China have replaced eastern and coastal ones as the new leading regions in power consumption growth," said Ye Chun, vice director of the Department of Industry Development of the China Electricity Council (CEC).

Ye ascribed this shift to China's poverty alleviation work, infrastructure construction, quickened urbanization, home appliances quality improvement and tourism boom driven by the original ecological environment.

Power use in Tibet Autonomous Region, for instance, increased by 18.3 percent year on year in the first four months of 2019, ranking first in growth rate in the country.

"As a section of the Sichuan-Tibet Railway, the Lhasa-Nyingchi railway's construction work accelerated this year, driving up the electricity consumption," said Bai Xiaowei with the China Railway Electrification Engineering Group.

In April, daily power consumption in the manufacturing sector also reached its peak in the past five months, according to the CEC.

"The growth of power use in traditional industries and manufacturing sector has been stable, while industries connected with digitization and informatization see drastic rises in power consumption, which illustrates new driving forces are steadily replacing the old ones," Ye said.

Xuzhou, an old coal city in east China, is mining its new fortune in equipment manufacturing.

"In the first four months of 2019, equipment manufacturers' power use rose 60.37 percent year on year thanks to considerable order size," said Li Ying, head of the Department of Planning of the State Grid Xuzhou Power Supply Company.

Xuzhou Construction Machinery Group (XCMG), China's leading construction machinery manufacturer, is exporting products to more than 183 countries and regions worldwide. In March alone, XCMG's exports have exceeded 100 million U.S. dollars.

In the four months from January, power use of the tertiary industry and the urban and rural residents increased 10.5 percent and 10.9 percent respectively, becoming the main driver of the power use rise in the country, according to the CEC.

Analysts said the new trend of consumption is stimulating enormous domestic market demand while Internet, big data and artificial intelligence integrated deeply with the real economy are continually changing people's lives.

"Consumption upgrading breeds new engines for the economic growth, filling more confidence and resilience with China's economy," said Li Daokui, dean of the Institute for China's Economic Practice and Thinking of Tsinghua University.

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Keyword: economic activity

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