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China's service sector new economic growth engine

By Yu Xiaoming | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2019-05-23 11:12

A girl sits on her father's shoulder during a visit to Sanya, South China's Hainan province, May 3, 2019. [Photo/IC]

China's service sector has become a new engine for economic growth, accounting for 52 percent of the total GDP, Economic Daily reported Thursday quoting commerce officials.

Last year, China's service industry accounted for 52.2 percent of the total GDP, up 11.5 percentage points compared with the secondary industry, Wang Bingnan, vice-minister of the Ministry of Commerce, said, adding the service industry has become China's biggest industrial sector, as well as a key driver for economic growth.

Since the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020), China's service trade has registered a faster average growth rate than the global level, Wang said. China's service trade rose 11.5 percent year-on-year and hit a record high in 2018. Imports and exports of services totaled 5.24 trillion yuan, ranking second largest in the world for five years in a row.

Meanwhile, knowledge-intensive service trade experienced stable development. Last year, imports and exports of knowledge-intensive service rose 20.7 percent to 1.7 trillion yuan, accounting for 32.4 percent of the total service trade and up 2.5 percentage points from a year earlier.

The pattern of opening-up has been further optimized, Wang said. Last June, 15 regions started to deepen a pilot program, which was first rolled out by the State Council in 2016 to promote innovative development of the service trade. A series of new opening-up measures were piloted in the region, covering telecommunications, tourism, engineering consulting, finance and legal services.

Trade in services refers to the sale and delivery of intangible products such as transportation, tourism, telecommunications, construction, advertising, computing and accounting.

So far, China has established trade in services with over 200 countries and regions across the world. Its trade in service volume with economies participating in the Belt and Road Initiative reached $121.7 billion in 2018, accounting for 15.4 percent of its total service trade.

China's service trade maintained stable and sound development with its total service trade rising 2.6 percent to 1.29 trillion yuan in the first quarter of 2019. Among them, imports and exports of emerging services jumped 12.6 percent to 463.49 billion yuan.

The country will continue to maintain this trend in the future, Xian Guoyi, director-general of the Department of Trade in Service and Commercial Services at the Ministry of Commerce, said, adding that the rapid growth in knowledge-intensive service trade has become a key driver for the development of China's service trade.

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