China ushers in a new era of service economy

The service sector accounted for 52.2 percent of China’s total GDP in 2018, which suggests that China has entered an era of service economy, according to a research group with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.


Xia Jiechang, head of the research team, made the remarks at a recent seminar on the development and opening-up of the country’s service industry in the new era.

The service sector has become a pillar of China’s economy, Xia added, noting that the tertiary industry attracted 46.3 percent of the country’s workforce and 56 percent of fixed-asset investment.

This was attributed to the high priority China places on developing its service industry as it has issued several documents in this regard, including a paper on promoting quality and expansion of capacity in the housekeeping service sector published by the State Council this June.

The country’s service industry still has its shortcomings, such as shortage of private services in education, healthcare and elderly care, structural imbalance between supply and demand, and backward management system.

Data showed that the average government education budget for general junior school students in Shanghai was over 30,000 yuan in 2016, while the figure in central China’s Henan province was only 7, 811 yuan.

To pursue high-quality development of the modern service sector, China needs to improve its market environment, support policies as well as laws and regulations on the protection of rights and interests of investors, market access, credit systems and governance, Xia noted.

China enjoys coordinated regional development

China has made steady progress in implementing its coordinated regional development strategy, contributing to its stable and sound economic growth and high-quality development.

The strategy includes advancing development in the western region, revitalizing the northeast, energizing the central region, integrating the development of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, the development of the Yangtze Economic Belt, the integrated development of the Yangtze River Delta and the planning and building of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.

As a result, regional development has become more balanced. Calculated with constant prices, the average annual growth rate of per capita GDP in the eastern, central, western, and northeastern regions in China between 1953 and 2018 was 7.2 percent, 8.2 percent, 8.5 percent, and 6.1 percent, respectively.

Coordinated regional development is a crucial step to tap into development potential and foster growth drivers.

China will create a medium-high-end consumption market of nearly 500 million people in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, the Yangtze River Delta and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area during the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-2025), which will significantly expand the country’s consumption demands, according to a report issued by the Academy of Macroeconomic Research (AMR) under the country’s National Development and Reform Commission.

Zhang Yan, an associate researcher at AMR, said that the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, a world-class bay area, will play an important role in driving economic growth and scientific and technological innovation, adding that the country will build it into a global innovation hub.

To further promote coordinated regional development, China needs to work faster to remove barriers between urban and rural areas and enhance the level of equal access to basic public services to boost domestic demand, Zhang noted.

The country also needs to address the infrastructural gap between the eastern and western region that hinders coordinated development. To this end, support for the western region will be intensified to build more railways and graded highways and improve the internet penetration rate.

Beijing Daxing International Airport deploys service robots

A bird’s-eye view of Beijing Daxing International Airport. [Photo/Xinhua]

The Beijing Daxing International Airport has deployed 10 virtual robots and 10 physical robots inside its terminal halls, delivering excellent performance results during their trial operation, according to the airport.

To improve passenger experience, the robots will interact with passengers to provide help with flight information, services, airport facilities and other information on how best to pass through security.

With functions such as indoor positioning and autonomous navigation, the physical robots are able to avoid obstacles automatically. They can also interact with passengers and provide information, including important airport activities and news.

These service robots are the epitome of the newly built smart airport. Reports confirm that the airport has applied smart technologies to develop 68 systems on 19 platforms to improve its operational efficiency and quality of service.

Mobile payment vitalizes small and micro-businesses

(Photo/Zhang Guorong)

Driven by mobile payment, China’s small and micro-businesses currently show great vitality and potential, continuing to fuel economic growth.

A report released on Aug. 6 suggests that in the first half of 2019, 90 percent of street vendors saw a growth in sales after they introduced mobile payment options.

Frequency of consumption at market stalls increased by 30 percent, and sales rose by 2.5 percent, said the report.

These free digital payment tools reduce trading time and operating costs for the vendors. Alipay, a mobile and online payment platform, plans to cut total costs of at least 50 billion yuan for owners of small businesses in the next three years.

Alipay also introduced online payment discounts and enabled users to borrow loans on the platform to stimulate consumption.

Mobile payment allows the positive influence of small businesses to be recognized within the national economy, said Yu Fenghui, an adjunct professor with Huazhong University of Science and Technology.

China has a total of 100 million small and micro-businesses. They consolidate the foundation of national economic development as a part of the private economy, which contributes to over 60 percent of GDP.

Yu said it is essential to provide more digital business tools to cut costs and optimize operation for vendors so that they can play a more significant role in the digital economy.

570 million people in China now use their mobile phones to pay, 80 percent of whom pay by scanning two-dimensional barcodes, according to a report released by China UnionPay in January.

China hopes to benefit the world with 5G

China is developing 5G technology to benefit the world, rather than threaten it. The country has always been engaged in global collaboration in the construction of 5G standards and the development of 5G trial networks.

Chinese telecommunications company Huawei has helped build 5G networks around the world. By July 18, the company had secured more than 50 5G commercial contracts across the globe, including 28 in Europe.

Statistics show that Huawei’s products and solutions have saved 55 billion euros in 5G network construction costs for European countries alone.

Back in 2013, when 5G remained in the research stage, China established the IMT-2020 (5G) promotion group and invited foreign companies like Ericsson, Nokia, and Qualcomm to join the team. The group members joined hands to research 5G, formulate technology standards and construct trial networks.

China Unicom recently formed a 5G international cooperation alliance with eight telecom operators from Spain, Germany, Japan, France, the UK and the US, among others, to promote 5G development.

China’s domestically developed regional jet completes highland test flight

ARJ21, China’s domestically developed regional jet, completed its first highland test flight in southwest China on Aug. 19.

Designed to adapt to the highland conditions with high anti-crosswind capabilities, ARJ21 can take off and land at the highland airports and avoid obstacles along the complicated air routes in southwest China.

China’s civil aviation industry has developed fast since 1949. The airport facilities of civil aviation have gradually improved, the coverage of the airline network has dramatically increased, and air transportation capabilities have significantly advanced.

By the end of 2018, China’s regularly scheduled flights had traveled a total distance of 8.4 million kilometers.

Social e-commerce shows great potential


The value of China’s social e-commerce reached 1.2 trillion yuan in 2018, accounting for 14 percent of the country’s online retail market, according to a report released by the Internet Society of China in July.

The market scale is expected to reach 2 trillion yuan in 2019, an increase of 63.2 percent year-on-year, said the report.

Social e-commerce is a subset of e-commerce that involves using social media to assist in the online buying and selling of products and services.

An online consumer, who prefers to buy daily necessities on the e-commerce platform Pinduoduo, said she saves money by using discounts offered by the platform or inviting friends to help cut prices.

The report said that the number of consumers engaged in social e-commerce reached 500 million in 2019.

Since last year, many social e-commerce enterprises such as Pinduoduo and Yunji have completed initial public offerings. Meanwhile, traditional e-commerce companies like Jing Dong and Taobao started to introduce social e-commerce services.

It is a trend that traditional e-commerce gradually develops into social e-commerce, said Cheng Xusen, a professor in information management and e-commerce with the University of International Business and Economics.

Social e-commerce is more user-oriented, said Cheng. He believes the user networks enable products to be accurately directed to consumers with strong purchasing power.

Food production increases steadily in China

(Photo/The Economic Daily)

China’s food production has maintained a healthy trend toward stable growth. In 2019, the country’s summer grain output reached 141.8 billion kilograms, underpinning the sufficient supply of major agricultural products.

Stable food production and food safety lay a solid foundation for economic and social development and give the country more confidence to cope with external challenges and risks, said Han Changfu, the Chinese Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs.

China’s per capita grain possession now exceeds 470 kilograms, higher than the world’s average. The country’s self-sufficiency rates of rice, wheat, and corn all stand above 98 percent.

China plays an active role in safeguarding global food safety, as the country can feed 20 percent of the world’s population with only 9 percent of the world’s arable land and 6.4 percent of its water resources.

The country has taken various measures to protect farmland, including designating permanent basic cropland, cultivating high-quality farmland and expanding trials in crop rotation.

The country aims to build 800 million mu (53 million hectares) of high-quality farmland by 2020. By the end of 2018, about 640 million mu of high-quality farmland had already been cultivated.

Technology has helped to improve grain production. China has increased technological input, applied modern technologies to farming, such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence, and intensified farmer training. As a result, the overall level of mechanization in plowing, sowing, and harvesting is growing substantially.

Last year, the advances in agricultural science and technology contributed to 58.3 percent of China’s agricultural production. The grain yield per mu increased to 375 kilograms in 2018 from 170 kilograms 40 years ago. Moreover, about 90 percent of China’s agrarian brands are domestically developed.

The country encourages farmers to work together to reduce costs, increase production and embrace the market. Currently, the country has 2.2 million registered agricultural cooperatives. Last year, it allocated 42.8 billion yuan to encourage farming in certain provinces.

China experiences huge changes in transportation, postal services, communication in 70 years


On Tuesday, China’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) released data revealing the drastic changes the country has made since the founding of the People’s Republic of China 70 years ago, especially after the implementation of reform and opening up in 1978.

According to NBS, China’s total operating mileage of high-speed rails had hit 30,000 kilometers by the end of 2018, accounting for over two-thirds of the global total and ranking first in the world.

The country is also home to 143,000 kilometers of expressways, with an annual growth rate of 25.8 percent. Among the world’s top 10 container ports regarding handling capacity last year, seven were in China.

Over the past 70 years, China has continuously expanded its network of air routes and airports. By the end of 2018, the country had 4,945 regular air routes, 412.1 times the number in 1950.

Since the founding of the People’s Republic of China, the country has also been working hard to improve and reform its postal system. From a country where no express delivery service existed, it has become the world’s largest express delivery market. Statistics indicated that by the end of 2018, the number of postal business outlets stood at 275,000, 10.4 times more than in 1949.

The country handled a total of 5.07 billion postal parcels last year, up from 1.53 million in 1988. The express delivery industry of the country generated revenue of 603.8 billion yuan last year, accounting for 76.4 percent of the total revenue of postal services.

Moreover, China also witnessed considerable improvements in communication. Starting in 2014, the country quickly established the world’s largest and broadest-covering 4G network in just a few years. By the end of 2018, the country had 1.17 billion 4G users, accounting for 74.4 percent of total mobile users.

The number of internet users also grew 40.9 percent annually from 620,000 in 1997 to 830 million in 2018.

China’s construction industry grows rapidly since 1949

China’s construction industry has seen rapid growth since 1949, according to a report issued by the country’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

The output value of the industry totaled 23.5 trillion yuan in 2018, 4,124 times that of 1952. The average annual growth rate reached 13.4 percent, said the report.

The added value accounted for 8.2 percent of the country’s GDP last year, 6.8 percentage points higher than in 1979.

Construction enterprises have increased alongside the booming industry, with more than 1.2 million enterprises in the sector last year.

Meanwhile, corporate strength has improved significantly. In 2018, 69 Chinese mainland companies were included in the list of the top 250 international contractors released by Engineering News-Record (ENR), an American weekly magazine on the construction industry, ranking first among global countries for the fourth time in a row.

The fast-growing industry has boosted employment. By the end of 2018, 55.63 million people were employed in the sector, accounting for 7.2 percent of the nation’s total, an increase of 5.6 percentage points over the 1980 figure.

With the maturing of technologies and an improvement in skills, Chinese enterprises have completed world-class construction projects at home, such as the Three Gorges Dam and the Qinghai-Tibet Railway.

They have also expanded their business overseas. China-Myanmar oil pipelines and the Mohammed VI Bridge in Morocco and other facilities built by Chinese enterprises have won widespread praise in recent years.