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商业 - 消费品

别担心,中国科技产品消费放缓只是暂时的

Peter Suciu 2014年04月18日

随着政府停止补贴,中国消费电子产品市场出现了滑坡。但它不会长时间停滞不前。目前的放缓主要是政府停止提供补贴以及智能手机普及带来的暂时性冲击。从长远看,中国市场的科技产品消费依然拥有巨大潜力,预计最快2015年就会实现反弹。

    去年,在中国市场带动下,亚洲消费电子产品销售额在历史上首次超过了北美。中国电子消费产品市场的高增长对行业观察人士和人口学家来说并不意外,因为中国人口超过100万的城市目前已经有160多座;而在美国,这样的城市只有9座。

    今年,中国GDP预计将增长7.4%,增幅高于美国。虽然有这样的增长率,但美国消费电子产品协会(CEA)预计,来自全世界的消费电子产品今年在亚洲的销售额将下跌1%。

    这样的跌幅和今年全球市场的前景并无二致——今年,全球科技产品销售额预计将从去年的1.068万亿美元降至1.055万亿美元(原因何在?一个巨大的不利因素是价格压力:科技产品价格的下降速度有超过需求增速的倾向。)不过,指望中国这样的高增长市场逆全球形势而动也不能说是不合理的期待。

    全球经济趋势不明朗,中国经济在这个背景下也放慢了发展脚步。这种情况引发了一连串的多米诺效应。首先,消费信心减弱;随后,在人们眼中不属于日常用品的产品出现了销售额下降。另外,中国政府于2013年5月停止对消费电子产品提供补贴(多年来,中国消费电子产品市场一直靠政府补贴来提振农村和非一线地区的需求),中国对消费电子产品的需求开始减弱。

    CEA首席经济学家肖恩•杜博拉瓦克说:“我们见到过这样的情况,中国消费者由于可以享受补贴而购买电子产品。存在便利时人们才会消费,而补贴占这些便利的很大一部分。中国消费者购买的产品包括大屏幕电视,就像二战后的美国,成为日子越过越好的中产阶层的标志就是拥有收音机,后来变成了拥有电视机。世界上所有国家的情况都是这样,无论是在非洲,在东南亚,还是在中国。”

    但杜博拉瓦克认为,政府补贴的终止并不代表着中国的中产阶层人数将停止增长,“补贴起到了一定作用,但不是决定性作用。”

    For the first time ever, sales of consumer electronics last year in Asia, led by China, exceeded sales in North America. To industry observers and demographers alike, the rapid growth of the Chinese market for consumer electronics comes as no surprise: There are now more than 160 cities in China with a population of more than 1 million people. In the United States, there are just nine.

    This year, China's gross domestic product is also expected to rise, to 7.4%, and it is rising faster than that of the United States. Despite this growth, the sale of worldwide consumer electronics in Asia is predicted to drop 1% this year, according to the Consumer Electronics Association.

    The dip isn't out of line with the global outlook for the year: Worldwide tech sales are expected to fall to $1.055 trillion this year, down from $1.068 trillion last year. (Why? For one thing, the tremendous undertow that is price pressure: The prices for technology-related products tend to fall faster than demand rises.) Still, for a rapidly growing market, it is not unreasonable to expect China to buck the global trend.

    Amid uncertain global economic trends, the Chinese economy slowed down. That led to a series of falling dominoes: first, a decline in consumer confidence, then, a drop in sales of products that are not considered to be daily necessities. Add the May 2013 cessation of government subsidies for consumer electronic products in China -- for several years, the country's consumer electronics market relied on them to help stimulate demand in rural and lower-class areas -- and the country's demand for consumer electronics began to flag.

    "We had seen stories where people in China were buying electronics because the subsidies were in place," said Shawn DuBravac, chief economist for the CEA. "People buy products when they have the means, and the subsidies were a big part of this. The products that the Chinese were buying included large-screen TVs -- it was like in the United States after World War II, when having a radio and later a TV was a sign of a rising middle class. This is true of all countries around the world, whether it is in Africa, southeast Asia, or China."

    Though the subsidies from Beijing have ended, it won't mean an end to China's growing middle class, DuBravac said. "Subsidies have played a role," he told Fortune, "but they are not the defining role."

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