BEIJING, May 10 -- China's subsidy program for home appliance purchases in rural areas continued to boost sales in the first four months of the year, the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) said Friday.
Sales of subsidized home appliances in China's rural area surged 510 percent year-on-year to 41.7 billion yuan ($6.13 billion) during the period, a statement on the ministry's website said.
Rural residents bought 20.84 million sets of subsidized household appliances in the January-April period, up 370 percent from a year earlier.
In April alone, 4.8 million sets of subsidized home appliances were sold, up 170 percent from a year earlier, with sales totaling 10 billion yuan, up 260 percent.
Sales of subsidized televisions, refrigerators and computers in the four months totaled 3.2 billion yuan, 3.2 billion yuan and one billion yuan, respectively, the statement said.
China launched the subsidy program in February last year to spur rural consumption to buoy the nation's economic growth amid the global economic downturn.
Farmers have received subsidies equal to 13 percent of the price of designated home appliances. The appliances include refrigerators, TV sets, mobile phones, washing machines, computers, air conditioners, water heaters, micro-wave ovens and ovens.
In March this year, the government made another six items - electric bikes, smoke exhaust ventilators, gas stoves, pressure cookers, electric cookers and DVD players - eligible for the subsidy.
China, the world's largest producer and exporter of household electric appliances, is home to more than 120,000 household-appliance makers.