1. Strengthening and improving macro-control and promoting steady and rapid economic development. We carried out a proactive fiscal policy and a moderately easy monetary policy. We comprehensively implemented and constantly improved the package plan for addressing the global financial crisis. We significantly increased government spending, implemented structural tax reductions, rapidly increased supplies of money and credit, made our monetary policy more sustainable, and increased the amount of direct financing. We thus ensured funding for economic and social development, effectively boosted domestic demand, and quickly reversed the slowdown in economic growth.
We vigorously expanded consumer spending. Our policies to encourage consumption covered more areas, were stronger and benefited more people than ever before. The central government provided 45 billion yuan in subsidies for rural residents to purchase home appliances and motor vehicles, including motorbikes. Part of the subsidies also supported trading-in old motor vehicles and home appliances for new ones and purchasing agricultural machinery and tools. We halved the purchase tax on small-displacement automobiles. We reduced or exempted taxes on buying and selling homes to support the purchase of homes to be used as their owners' residences. Throughout the year 13.64 million motor vehicles were sold, an increase of 46.2%; commodity housing sales amounted to 937 million square meters, up 42.1%; and total retail sales of consumer goods increased 16.9% in real terms. Consumption played a much bigger role in fueling economic growth.
We promoted rapid growth in investment. We guided and stimulated non-government investment by means of well-leveraged government investment. We implemented a plan to invest an additional 4 trillion yuan over two years. In 2009, the central government's public investment was 924.3 billion yuan, 503.8 billion yuan more than in the previous year's budget. Of this, 44% was invested in low-income housing, projects to improve the wellbeing of rural residents, and social programs; 16% in independent innovation, restructuring, energy conservation, emissions reductions, and ecological improvement; 23% in major infrastructure projects; and 14% in post-Wenchuan earthquake recovery and reconstruction. Fixed asset investment increased 30.1% nationwide. We further improved the investment structure. Rapid investment growth effectively compensated for the shortfall created by shrinking external demand, strengthened weak links, and laid a solid foundation for long-term economic and social development.
We accelerated the post-Wenchuan earthquake recovery and reconstruction work. We have already invested 654.5 billion yuan, 65.5% of the total planned investment, in the worst hit areas. Thanks to the government's strong support, the selfless assistance of people throughout the country, and the hard work of residents of the earthquake area, the badly damaged areas have taken on a brand-new appearance, with new towns rising straight out of the ground, and villages brimming with vitality. All this fully reflects the boundless love of the Chinese nation and powerfully demonstrates the incomparable superiority of the socialist system.