Sales of home appliances in China\'s rural areas spiked in the first half of 2011 from a year earlier on government moves to encourage domestic consumption, officials said Tuesday. The Chinese Ministry of Commerce said in a statement that sales of electrical appliances for home use in rural areas soared 83.7 percent on-year to 124.6 billion yuan (US$19.3 billion) in the January-June period. In terms of the number of units sold, 50.9 million were sold to rural areas in the same period, up 56.7 percent from a year earlier. In June, however, sales slumped with 5.7 million home appliances sold to rural consumers, 4.4 percent lower over the same period last year. By value, sales increased 11 percent on-year to 15 billion yuan as higher-priced products, such as refrigerators, televisions and air conditioners, accounted for 73.7 percent of the total rural sales. In a bid to boost domestic consumption across the country, China introduced the subsidy program for electronics in February 2009. Under the program, consumers in rural areas can receive subsidies equal to 13 percent of the prices of designated products such as refrigerators, televisions, washing machines, computers, air conditioners, mobile phones, water heaters, microwave ovens and traditional ovens. As of June 2011, the Chinese government spent about 40 billion yuan in subsidies to encourage rural people to buy home appliances.