A visitor (left) tries out GTVerse, a business-to-consumer mixed reality social network platform, at the 2022 China International Fair for Trade in Services on Thursday. The value of China's trade in services surged 20.7 percent year-on-year to 3.39 trillion yuan ($491.37 billion) in the first seven months. (Photo by ZHANG WEI/CHINA DAILY)
With Jan-July data reaching $491b, sector to upgrade consumption and industries
Compared with manufacturing and agriculture, the services sector probably never had it so good: its prominence in GDP is growing, the number of services of various kinds is ever expanding, and trade in services is ballooning, as has been highlighted by the six-day 2022 China International Fair for Trade in Services－CIFTIS－that opened in Beijing on Aug 31.
More evidence of the growing significance and vibrancy of trade in services can be found in an office building in West Coast New Area of Qingdao, eastern China's Shandong province. Here, a group of Chinese and Romanians from the translation center of MCC Beris Engineering and Research Corp, a subsidiary of State-owned China Metallurgical Group Corp, create the Romanian version of a popular Chinese TV series. Their creation will be broadcast on a channel owned by TVR, the Eastern European country's public television service, in the fourth quarter of this year.
"We also provide Chinese films, TV series and variety shows in more than a dozen languages, including English, Vietnamese, Indonesian and Malay, to TV stations and new media platforms in more than 195 countries and regions," said Zhao Zhonghui, director of the translation center in Qingdao.
With China emerging as a driver of the global trading system, the market for language services has grown rapidly. MCC Beris has witnessed significant growth in the exports of Chinese content production firms and TV programs in different languages, as well as translation projects of professional content in recent years, Zhao said.
With the added value of the services sector growing fast and accounting for 53 percent of China's GDP in 2021, the government's efforts to bolster new formats of foreign trade, conduct policy trials at its pilot free trade zones and attract foreign businesses have all helped the growth rate of trade in services to exceed that of trade in goods in the first half of this year, said Zhang Jianping, deputy director of the academic committee of the Beijing-based Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation.
In contrast to merchandise trade, trade in services refers to purchase and sale of services. According to the World Trade Organization's definition, trade in services covers 12 major sectors. These include commerce, communication, construction and related engineering, finance, entertainment, culture, sports, tourism, education and environment.
As China's manufacturing industry embraces high technology, the export capacity of many manufacturers and their fees charged for intellectual property and other services are also soaring. These factors have effectively driven the growth of trade in services, he said.
Powered by continuous opening-up, the stable recovery of the services sector, and digitalization of trade in services, the value of China's trade in services surged 20.7 percent year-on-year to 3.39 trillion yuan ($491.37 billion) in the first seven months, data from the Ministry of Commerce showed.
The nation's trade of knowledge-intensive services maintained steady growth, rising 10.2 percent year-on-year to about 1.42 trillion yuan.
Chen Bin, executive vice-president of the Beijing-based China Machinery Industry Federation, said that many developed economies, encouraged by their growth pace, were willing to invest more in trade in services, after securing some market share in global goods trade.
In the manufacturing process of many multinational corporations such as the US-based Apple Inc, the added value accounts for less than 40 percent of the selling price, indicating more than 60 percent of the added value is generated from services, Chen said.