Taipei--Revenue generated by the local retail sector fell in the first half of this year due to a fall in the number of Chinese visitors to Taiwan, who tend to make large purchases of home appliances or luxury goods while in Taiwan, according to the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA).
Wang Shu-chuan (???), deputy director of the MOEA's statistics department, said that the number of Chinese visitors to Taiwan in the past six months fell about 40 percent from a year earlier, which had an adverse effect on local private consumption and retail sales.
Wang said that although the total foreign arrivals fell only 5.7 percent year-on-year to offset the fall in Chinese tourist numbers, tourists from other countries failed to make up for the reduced consumption generated by Chinese visitors.
As a result, retail sales for the first half of the year fell 0.4 percent from a year earlier to about NT$2 trillion (US$66.01 billion), after revenue generated by the sector posted the first year-on-year fall of 1.8 percent in June.
According to the MOEA, the local home appliances business suffered the most visible impact, with sales falling by NT$11.9 billion year-on-year for the six-month period.
Since the Democratic Progressive Party took office on May 20 of last year, cross-Taiwan Strait ties have cooled. The decline in the number of Chinese visitors is one of the consequences of the deteriorating cross-strait relations.
In the second quarter of this year, retail sales also fell 0.2 percent from a year earlier to NT$997.1 billion, the MOEA said.
In June alone, retail sales totaled NT$329.9 billion, down 1.8 percent from a year earlier, the first drop in four months, the MOEA data shows.
Revenue posted by department stores fell 4.9 percent from a year earlier to NT$22.1 billion in June, while sales generated by supermarkets, convenience stores and hypermarkets rose 10.4 percent, 3.3 percent and 0.8 percent, respectively, to NT$17 billion, NT$27.4 billion and NT$15.1 billion, the statistics indicate.
Sales posted by the food/beverage/tobacco business fell 3.4 percent year-on-year to NT$37.5 billion in June, while the clothing/fashion business saw revenue falling 7.3 percent to NT$21.3 billion, the statistics show.
Meanwhile, sales generated by the local wholesale sector rose 5.7 percent from a year earlier to NT$851.9 billion in June on the back of strong demand for machinery, communications chips, memory chips and chemical materials, at a time when the global economy has been on the road to recovery, the MOEA said.
Revenue posted by the local food/beverage sector rose just 0.2 percent from a year earlier to NT$36.5 billion, as heavy rain during the month affected consumers' interest in dining out.
In the first half of this year, sales in the wholesale sector rose 5.1 percent from a year earlier to NT$4.79 trillion, while revenue of the local food/beverage sector grew 2.7 percent to NT$224.9 billion.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel