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Shopping festival planned to stimulate consumption

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Ministry of Economic Affairs said Saturday that it will hold a “shopping festival” in the second half of the year to stimulate consumption in Taiwan at a time when the local economy shows few signs of picking up steam.

The festival, which will rely on widespread discounts and promotional activities to get consumers to spend more, is expected to create about NT$24 billion (US$800 million) in commercial opportunities, the ministry said.

The initiative is just one of several the government is taking to revive an economy that has remained stubbornly sluggish this year.

On May 24, the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) cut its forecast for Taiwan's private consumption growth for 2013 to 1.46 percent, from an earlier estimate of 1.86 percent made in February.

The DGBAS also lowered its estimate of Taiwan's gross domestic product (GDP) growth for 2013 to 2.40 percent from 3.59 percent, with 0.22 percentage points of the downward revision attributed to the weaker consumption growth forecast.

During the July to December festival, 25,000 shops around Taiwan will offer discounts on more than 100,000 products to draw consumers, the ministry said.

Stores located in Taiwan's six major metropolitan areas — Taipei, New Taipei, Taoyuan, Taichung, Tainan and Kaohsiung — will offer special promotions that the ministry expects to generate NT$2.18 billion in sales in retail, wholesale and restaurant businesses.

The campaign hopes to fuel another NT$20 billion in sales by hooking up with the “MIT Smile” project that promotes quality made-in-Taiwan products, such as electronics goods and garments, the ministry said.

MIT Smile products have been certified by the ministry and given a Taiwan-made Product MIT Smile logo to make them stand out in the market.

Promotions focused on the ministry's “One Town One Product (OTOP)” program, which promotes the specialties of the country's many distinctive townships, hope to generate an additional NT$290 million in sales, the ministry said.

In addition, special discounts will be offered to boost spending on factory tourism by NT$218 million.

The factory tourism project transforms select old economy factories into tourist destinations by exposing visitors to traditional Taiwanese culture and manufacturing techniques.

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