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Expert: China poised to lead service economy in highly connected era

By Chen Liubing | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2019-01-07 11:21

Jiang Xiaojuan, dean of School of Public Administration, Tsinghua University, speaks at the 2019 Impact Summit on Jan 5, 2019. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

China stands a good chance at leading the service economy during this highly connected era, thanks to its large population base and advanced technology, said Jiang Xiaojuan, dean of the School of Public Administration, Tsinghua University, at a summit jointly held by chinadaily.com.cn and NetEase News on Jan 5.

The service industry has become the largest industry in China since 2012, and it accounted for 50.2 percent of China's GDP in 2015. The contribution of the service industry's added value to the country's GDP reached 59.2 percent in 2017, with employment in the service sector comprising 61.5 percent of the urban employment in 2017, way up from the 52.7 percent in 1997, said Jiang, adding that China has entered the era of the service economy featuring connected technologies.

Unlike traditional face-to-face services such as live performances, on-site teaching and medical treatment, technologies have led China's service business into a highly connected era, with data-driven intelligent cities, smart driving, Internet Plus medical treatment and online education as the most typical representatives.

The Emerging Science and Technology Trends: 2016-2045 report of the United States listed robotics and autonomous systems, human augmentation, mobile and cloud computing, cybersecurity, medical advances, smart cities, internet of things, augmented reality, and advanced digitalization as the top emerging trends for the next decades. These technologies, featuring connections between people and appliances, have great development prospects in China's service economy, thanks to the country's large scope and scale, the expert said.

The AI plus healthcare booth of iFLYTEK is seen in Chongqing, on Sept 7, 2018. [Photo/VCG]

China, with a huge population, multiple megacities and dozens of metropolitan areas, provides opportunities to develop for all kinds of projects, even those for very niche markets, Jiang said. Projects for niche markets, such as those only serving 1 percent or even 0.1 percent of the population, can realize mass production here in China.

Moreover, China possesses this type of productive service industry, the expert said. For example, in South China's Shenzhen, which boasts many furniture manufacturers, some furniture companies focus on niche markets, designing a specific variety of furniture. "This kind of productive service industry requires a large number of users, which is only possible in China," Jiang said. Products for these niche markets can become mature and competitive before entering the international market, she added.

With advanced technology and a large user base, China is capable of maintaining comparatively high growth after entering the service economy era as it continues its reform and opening-up, the expert added.

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