CHANGSHA, March 28 (Xinhua) -- Central China's Hunan Province will issue e-coupons to boost consumption, following similar voucher programs launched by several Chinese cities to bail out the service sector hit hard by the COVID-19 outbreak.
The province's department of finance and trade unions federation announced the decision to issue the year's holiday allowances in advance in the form of e-coupons in a notice on "boosting the market and stabilizing employment with active consumption."
Recipients of the e-coupons include trade union members and employees of government units, institutions and enterprises, said the notice.
The coupons could be spent in brick-and-mortar stores in sectors including catering and tourism across the province. The consumption, however, must be completed before May 6.
Compared with gifts and pick-up coupons, officials said e-coupons are more flexible, and its term of validity can also encourage the recipients to consume as soon as possible, thus helping tide the real economy, especially the small and medium businesses in the service sector, over the epidemic.
In early March, Chinese authorities released a guideline aimed at boosting consumption and unleashing the potential of the domestic market to cushion the blow of the ongoing epidemic on economic activities.
A number of Chinese cities have answered the call by rolling out voucher programs. The city of Ningbo in east China's Zhejiang Province recently launched a sales promotion campaign with a raft of enterprises providing consumers with vouchers and coupons worth around 20 billion yuan.
Nanjing, capital of east China's Jiangsu Province, has announced the issuance of over 300 million yuan of vouchers to its residents and those in difficulties to spur spending and accelerate the resurgence of its service industry.
Chinese online retailer Suning.com also distributed vouchers worth 500 million yuan (about 70.4 million U.S. dollars) to its users nationwide to encourage them to purchase goods at its online and offline stores.