Great food is like great sex: The more you have, the more you want.
It's a saying that certainly applies to the Chinese, at least in the
culinary sense, as recent figures show that people are spending more money
on dining out.
A report released yesterday by the Ministry of Commerce shows that
retail sales in the catering sector last year hit 1.03 trillion yuan, up
16.4 percent on 2005.
The figure accounts for 13.5 percent of the country's total retail
sales of consumer goods. It has helped create about 20 million jobs, the
Meanwhile, ministry figures show that in the first two months of this
year, retail sales in the sector reached 205.91 billion yuan, up 17
percent on the same period in 2006.
"It's expected the growth will continue for the rest of the year, to
estimated annual sales of 1.21 trillion yuan ($156 billion)," the report
The figures equate to every Chinese spending 915 yuan on dining out
this year, compared with 790 yuan last year.
In the United States and France, the equivalent figures are $1,600 and
"So there is still plenty of room for growth, especially in the
country's vast rural areas," the report says.
Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou topped last year's chart for retail
sales in the catering sector, with Shanghai, Jinan and Qingdao in East
China's Shandong Province recording the highest growth rates.