BEIJING, Jan. 8 -- Home appliance sales under China's rural subsidy program rose 18.8 percent year on year to 214.52 billion yuan (34.05 billion U.S. dollars) in 2012, the Ministry of Commerce said Monday.
The volume of appliances sold in the period increased 22.6 percent from one year earlier to 79.91 million units, according to a ministry statement.
In December alone, subsidized home appliance sales in the countryside jumped 28.3 percent year on year to reach 13.28 billion yuan.
In terms of sales, Haier Group Co., Gree Electric Appliances Inc. and Qingdao Hisense Electric Co. made the top three last year. Their sales reached 25.05 billion yuan, 18.98 billion yuan and 17.21 billion yuan, respectively, the statement said.
In 2012, sales of color TVs, refrigerators, air conditioners and water heaters all exceeded 30 billion yuan, accounting for 83.3 percent of total sales.
The subsidy program was introduced in 2009. Since then, up until the end of 2012, 298 million units of home appliances were sold, with sales amounting to 720.4 billion yuan, the statement said.
The subsidy program is part of the government's efforts to stimulate rural consumption and boost the country's economic growth amid the global economic downturn.
Under the program, farmers can receive subsidies equal to 13 percent of the price of the home appliances they buy.
The program will expire on Jan. 31.