The Chengyang District of the city of Qingdao has become the first in China to use a new WeChat service to issue government vouchers directly to residents’ mobile phones, in a bid to boost consumer spending as the Chinese economy begins to recover from Covid-19.
A total of RMB 10m (US$1.41m) is being distributed to 198,000 of the region’s 720,000 residents, Technode reports.
The coupons can be redeemed “in categories including food and beverages, sports facilities, books, and others”.
“Medical staff working in the front lines of the Covid-19 epidemic will each receive a voucher of RMB 200 (US$28.25) while members of households that receive minimum living standard welfare payments will be granted coupons worth RMB 100 each (US$14.12).”
“Others will be allocated RMB 40 (US$5.65) or RMB 50 (US$7.06) worth of coupons by an online lottery system,” the report adds.
“They can use the RMB 40 coupon when they spend more than RMB 40.01, while the RMB 50 coupons can only be redeemed when they spend more than RMB 100 (US$14.10).
“Residents can register on an app developed by the Chengyang District government to participate in the lottery, and coupons will be issued to their WeChat Wallet.
“The function will be rolled out in other localities including Beijing in the future.”