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Beijing Drives Green Agenda with Digital Vouchers

In what could be a great example for other cities to emulate, Beijing is using digital sales to promote a better, more sustainable circular economy. China’s capital will offer digital vouchers worth more than 300 million yuan (USD 47 million) to spur consumption in the energy-saving sector between April and September this year.

As Beijing has been making efforts to accelerate its steps to build itself into an international consumption centre, a series of 20 new policies will be carried out this year to boost innovation and market vitality. 

– Guo Wenjie, Deputy Director, Beijing Municipal Commerce Bureau 

Looking at a seamless promotion for energy-saving devices, the city is making these vouchers available online. Thus, these energy-saving vouchers, also known as coupons, are among the latest measures initiated by the bureau. Moreover, it announced that the coupons will be offered on several online shopping platforms each month between April and September. Residents of the city can avail of them online.

Initially, around 200,000 coupons worth between 50 yuan (USD 7.57) and 400 yuan (USD 60.53) each will be given to those who want to purchase energy-saving electric appliances, including TV sets, washing machines and air conditioners.

The private sector is also doing its part. For instance, one of China’s biggest e-commerce companies is one of the participants. It will cooperate with more than 70 brands – mostly electrical appliance producers-to offer more than 1,800 products online that can use the coupons for discounts or purchases. A company executive explained it is a growing trend to speed up consumption upgrades in the energy-saving sector, especially regarding the purchase of electrical appliances.

For their part, they have begun recycling outdated electrical appliances since 2016 to ensure that the huge amount of such goods which have become a burden after the end of their service lives can be treated properly. Further, they have been offering services for consumers to trade in old items for new ones when purchasing electrical appliances. The old machines will be recycled back to steel, nonferrous metals, plastics and rubber via our industrial chain, he disclosed. In addition, the company is boosting its online platform for a circular economy. Each consumer can get six coupons with a total value of 900 yuan (USD 136.19) each month on their website.

Beijing consumers are happy to buy more energy-efficient products and be part of a green economy via digital. What’s more, all these spell convenience consumers can also use the coupons at physical stores to buy certain items.

Since 2015, the Beijing municipal government has offered subsidies to local residents for energy-saving products covering 13 types of goods, led by electrical appliances, to spread the low-carbon consumption concept among the general public. In the past six years, thanks to the policy, companies participating in the programme have sold more than 11 million items and brought in revenue of 42 billion yuan (USD 6,355,643,280). Further, the city has saved 760 million kilowatt-hours and cut carbon emissions by 522,000 tons as a result of the policy, according to the government.

Truly, China is intent on making its digital adoption bear fruit. The Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) is still in its trial stages but already making a dent as construction managers made payments with them recently as reported on OpenGov Asia.

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