China’s service exports accelerated and imports maintained steady growth

In 2013, China proactively optimized the structure of its trade in services, and made efforts to expand exports of high value added services, resulting in steady growth. The scale of trade in services for the whole year hit a new record high, with total imports and exports surpassing USD 500 billion for the first time, maintaining its position among the largest in the world.

I. Proportion of service imports and exports in foreign trade increased

In 2013, China’s total imports and exports of services amounted to USD 539.64 billion, up by 14.7% over that of 2012. Among these, the imports and exports of high value added services like consulting, computer and information services, financial services, royalties and licensing fees grew by 19.9%, 17%, 66.2% and 16.7% respectively. The rapid growth of trade in high value added services benefitted the growth of capital and technology intensive enterprises, promoted scientific and technological progress and innovation, and helped optimize trade structure. The total volume of imports and exports in services for the whole year accounted for 11.5% of the total volume of China’s foreign trade, 0.7 percentage point higher than that of 2012.

II. Exports in services realized two-digit growth for the first time in three years

Exports in services accelerated significantly. In 2013, China’s total exports of services amounted to USD 210.59 billion, up by 10.6% year-on-year, realizing a growth rate 6 percentage points higher than that of 2012 and reaching a double-digit growth rate for the first time since 2011.

Export of high value added services grew rapidly. In 2013, China’s export of high value added services presented a momentum of steady growth, becoming an important driving force in the adjustment of the structure of trade in services. Among that, the export of consulting services was up by 21.2% over that of 2012; the export of computer and information services rose by 6.8%; the export of financial services ranked first with a rise of 54.2%,; and insurance exports increased by 20%.

The proportion of exports of traditional services to total service exports dropped slightly. In 2013, the export volume of transportation services, tourism, and construction services were respectively USD 37.65 billion, USD 51.66 billion and USD 10.66 billion, making up 47.5% of the total volume of exports in services—a figure 5.6 percentage points lower than that of 2012. The total exports of tourism services lead those of all services, up by 3.3% year-on-year, making up 24.5% of China’s total service exports, a decrease from 26.3% last year. Exports of transportation services rank second, down by 3.2% year-on-year, its percentage of total service exports having dropped to 17.9% from 20.4% last year. Exports of construction services fell by 13%, making up 5.1% of total service exports and declining of 1.3 percentage points compared with those of the previous year.

III. Service Imports continue to enjoy steady and rapid momentum

In 2013, China’s service imports grew faster than exports. The total realized imports were USD 329.05 billion, up by 17.5% year-on-year, an increase equal to that of the previous year.
In high value added services, imports of finance services, computer and information services, and film and video services saw rapid growth, up by 77%, 55.9% and 39.8% respectively. The import of royalties and licensing fees rose by 18.5% and that of consultation grew by 17.8%.

China’s outbound tourism saw consistent rise and the import of tourism services increased its percentage of China’s total import of service. The total realized tourism imports in 2013 reached USD 128.58 billion, still ranking first among China’s service imports, up by 26.1% year-on-year, accounting for 39.1% of China’s total service imports—a rise from 36.4% in the previous year. The import of transportation services totaled USD 94.32 billion, up by 9.9% year-on-year, making up 28.7% of service imports, which exhibited a decline of 1.9 percentage points from the previous year.

IV. Deficit of trade in services rising

In 2013, China’s deficit of trade in services rose from USD 89.7 billion in 2012 to USD 118.46 billion, up by 32.1% year-on-year. The deficit was mainly in tourism, transportation services, royalties and licensing fees, and insurance, which reported deficits of USD 76.92 billion, USD 56.68 billion, USD 20.15 billion and USD 18.1 billion respectively. In contrast, other business services, consulting services, computer and information services, and construction services saw large trade surpluses, reporting surpluses of USD 19.55 billion, USD 16.95 billion, USD 9.45 billion and USD 6.77 billion respectively.


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