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China pledges to boost retail, health, travel sectors to lift consumption

[Beijing] China will promote the development of the retail, health, travel and sports sectors in a bid to boost domestic consumption, the cabinet said on Sunday.

In a statement on its website, the State Council said it will encourage financial institutions to accept a broader range of collateral for extending loans to "lifestyle-related businesses".

Other sectors that the government highlighted are service ones related to families and the elderly, culture, law, accommodation and catering as well as education and training.

The State Council said the government will also expand consumer credit, improve the system of Internet payments and study the management of credit card fees "to further reduce overall expenses" related to their use. No details were given.

The government will crack down on price-gouging as well the sale of counterfeit goods, and prosecute monopolies and businesses engaged in unfair competition, according to the statement.

Top leaders have flagged a "new normal" of slower growth as it tries to shift the world's second-largest economy to sustainable, consumption-led development.

China's economy is on track this year to grow at its slowest pace in more than two decades. Chinese growth dipped to 6.9 percent in the third quarter, the weakest since the global financial crisis, hurt partly by cooling investment.

Earlier this month, the government said it will increase financial, fiscal and tax policy support to drive consumption.