BEIJING, Aug. 8 (Xinhua) -- A nationwide subsidy program for rural consumers helped stabilize home appliance sales in rural China amid an economic slowdown in the first seven months of the year, according to data released by the Ministry of Finance (MOF) on Wednesday.
The central government spent 10.9 billion yuan (1.72 billion U.S. dollars) to subsidize home appliances sold in rural areas during the January-July period, up 19.2 percent year on year, according to MOF data.
The volume of subsidized home appliances sold in the countryside reached 43.87 million units in the period, up 7.2 percent from a year ago.
The sales value of the appliances rose 17.3 percent year on year to 117.2 billion yuan in the first seven months, 2.9 percentage points higher than the nation's overall retail sales in the first half of this year.
Home appliance sales under the subsidy program at one point fell 6.7 percent year on year from January to April, with the volume of appliances sold in the period declining 16.7 percent.
Initiated in 2009 to stimulate rural consumption and buoy the nation's economic growth amid the global economic downturn, the subsidy program will be effective until January 2013.
Under the program, rural residents can receive subsidies equal to 13 percent of the price of the home appliances they buy.