China’ foreign service trade amounted to $657.5 billion in 2016, ranking second in the world by volume, a Ministry of Commerce official revealed on May 28.
In 2016 China absorbed nearly one-tenth of global exports of services, and has also invested more than $30 billion in the service sectors of countries along the Belt and Road routes since the introduction of the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative, said vice-minister of commerce Fang Aiqing, while addressing the 2017 Beijing International Fair for Trade in Services on May 28.
China is expected to import services worth more than $2.2 trillion over the next five years, Fang added. The country has approved a slew of measures to further open up its economy and ramp up the service trade.
With seven more zones opening on April 1 in Chongqing, Henan, Hubei, Liaoning, Shaanxi, Sichuan and Zhejiang, China now has 11 free trade zones.
China has also piloted innovative development measures on service trade in 10 provinces and cities, including Tianjin, Shanghai and Hainan, as well as at five new development areas at a state level, such as Harbin.
Beijing has been made the first comprehensive pilot city of further opening up the service sector, including technology, finance, culture, education, healthcare, commerce and tourism.
China also plans to accelerate the opening up of industries such as telecommunication, internet, culture, education and transportation, and ease restrictions on financial markets, giving foreign investors easier access to China’s banking, securities, futures, insurance, accounting and auditing fields.
Those measures have boosted the development of China’s service industry and service trade. China’s foreign direct investment (FDI) in the service sector hit $88.6 billion in 2016.
Meanwhile, the country’s outbound direct investment (ODI) reached $183.2 billion in 2016, up 43.6 percent from the previous year.
In addition, Fang stressed the importance of continuing to open up, as well as advancing innovation and cooperation in a bid to fulfill the vision of building “a community of shared future for mankind”.