Retail in Asia

In Trends

Mainland China looks to rice cookers to pep up economy

The mainland China authorities’ latest plan to perk up its slowing economy is based on the humble rice cooker and luxury toilet seats.

The development plan issued last week strikes a blow for China’s consumers, calling for better products to help create an economy driven by domestic consumption instead of trade and investment. The document lays out an unusually detailed wish list: better electric rice cookers, kitchen appliances, “smart toilet seats” and smartphones.

China makes most of the world’s consumer electronics, furniture and toys but domestic brands available at the prices its poor majority can afford are of uneven quality. The country has been plagued by repeated scandals over shoddy or fake food, medicine and other goods.