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Data from Alipay Shows Signs of Consumption Returning as Some Virus Restrictions Eased

By Ding Yi / Apr 02, 2020 06:19 PM / Economy

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Spending on medical, beauty and catering services in China have shown signs of increasing as some local governments have lifted lockdowns and travel limits originally aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus, according to data provided by Alipay.

From Mar. 18 to Mar. 27, spending on dental health and medical beauty service have all increased on Alipay’s digital lifestyle platform compared with the previous 10-days when the platform was first launched. The cities of Shanghai, Nanjing and Beijing are the largest source of consumers, Alipay said in a statement emailed to Caixin, although they provided no detail about the specific sale volumes.

In addition, several local governments are using Alipay to give out electronic coupons to citizens in a bid to drive consumption. For instance, the Hangzhou municipal government distributed 1.68 billion yuan ($237 million) in consumption coupons to residents via Alipay on Mar. 27, a move that helped the city’s Century Hualian supermarkets achieve sales of 60 million yuan in just three days following their issuance, Alipay said, citing an executive at the retail chain. Alipay’s domestic rival WeChat Pay also serves as a platform through which consumers can obtain government-issued digital consumption coupons.

Digital platforms are being used by central and local governments as they try to combat the worst economic effects of the outbreak. In March Alipay was selected by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Affairs as a partner to co-launch a virtual recruitment campaign. On Mar. 23, nearly 60,000 employers partnered with Alipay to launch an online job fair that will last through the end of June and is expected to attract one million job seekers, Alipay said.

Contact reporter Ding Yi (yiding@caixin.com)

Related: Alibaba and Tencent Develop Health Tracking App to Help Authorities Control Virus


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