China’s service trade sags 15.7% in 2020 due to pandemic
Published: Feb 04, 2021 05:04 PM

People watch Malaysia-style martial arts during the opening ceremony of the China-Malaysia Culture and Tourism Month-Fun with Nature campaign in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Sept. 26, 2020. The China-Malaysia Culture and Tourism Month-Fun with Nature campaign kicked off on Saturday at Malaysia's National Zoo, drawing over 1,000 visitors on its first day. (Xinhua/Zhu Wei)

China's imports and exports of services dropped 15.7 percent year-on-year to 4.56 trillion yuan ($707 billion) in 2020 as tourism plunged amid the pandemic, but the country's service trade deficit continues to narrow, Gao Feng, spokesperson from the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) said on Thursday.

The deceleration rate of the country's service sector narrowed quarter by quarter, with the sector posting the highest growth in December at 6.9 percent to 231.6 billion yuan, data from the MOFCOM showed.

The country's service trade deficit was greatly reduced last year. The service exports slid 1.1 percent year-on-year to 19,357 billion yuan, whereas service imports plunged 24 percent year-on-year to 2,629 billion yuan, reducing the country's service trade deficit by 53.9 percent, according to the MOFCOM.

In 2020, China's knowledge-intensive service trade grew 8.3 percent to reach 2,033.1 billion-yuan, accounting for 44.5 percent of the country's total service imports and exports, an increase of 9.9 percentage points.

In contrast, the country's tourism service trade dropped 48.3 percent to hit 1.01 trillion yuan last year, which dragged down the overall national service trade figures, Gao said. "Excluding the factor of tourism services, China's service trade grew 2.9 percent in 2020," he said.