China Said to Mull Subsidies for Energy-Saving Appliances

Aug 22, 2014 5:09 am ET

(Updates with closing share prices in last paragraph.)

Aug. 22 (Bloomberg) -- China is considering a plan to offer subsidies to encourage wider use of energy-saving home appliances, people familiar with the matter said. Shares of appliance makers rose.

The State Council would need to approve the subsidies plan, which targets makers of appliances including energy-efficient air conditioners and refrigerators, said the people, who asked not to be identified because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly about the matter. The Ministry of Finance, National Development and Reform Commission and Ministry of Commerce are drafting the plan, they said.

The subsidies would follow a yearlong program begun in 2012 offering financial incentives to consumers of energy-efficient appliances. China’s household electronic sales rose 8.6 percent in the first seven months of the year, lower than the 15 percent sales growth in the same period last year, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

Companies would need to submit applications for their products to qualify for the subsidies, according to the people, who said there was no timeframe for when the proposal may be approved.

The Commerce Ministry, Finance Ministry and NDRC didn’t immediately respond to faxed requests for comment.

Encourage Innovation

In an Aug. 6 statement, the NDRC said it wanted to start a new program to encourage innovation and adoption of energy- efficient technology. Any such program would likely include subsidies and benefit large producers, crowding out smaller ones, China International Capital Corp. analysts Wei He and Haiyan Guo wrote in an Aug. 11 report. They recommended buying shares of Midea Group Co., Haier Electronics Group Co. and Qingdao Haier Co. in response.

Midea rose 3.7 percent to 22.66 yuan at the close in Shenzhen trading, the highest level since its listing in September, while Jiangsu Chunlan Refrigerating Equipment Stock Co. gained 1.8 percent in Shanghai.

Haier Electronics climbed 0.4 percent in Hong Kong. The Shenzhen Composite Index advanced 0.7 percent, while Hong Kong’s benchmark Hang Seng Index rose 0.5 percent.