“Unlocking China’s Untapped Service Sector Potential: A Close Economic Look”

On September 4th, within the bustling confines of the 2023 China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) being held in Beijing, a noteworthy scene unfolded. An exhibition booth, meticulously arranged by Etihad Airways from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), saw a continuous stream of visitors eagerly lining up. Their anticipation was not for a mere trinket, but for free notebooks adorned with exquisite Arabic architectural imagery.

A personable Italian representative, stationed at Etihad Airways’ Beijing office, adeptly communicated their business offerings to the intrigued passersby in simple yet effective Chinese. This distinctive gesture of distributing these aesthetically pleasing notebooks underscored the airline’s commitment to engaging with the event’s attendees.

The significant influx of visitors at the fair stands as a testament to the swift resurgence of China’s service trade sector, a beacon of economic revival following the trials of the global pandemic.

Among the international participants at CIFTIS, Emirates, another prominent airline hailing from the UAE, stands out. They have demonstrated their commitment to the Chinese market by ramping up the frequency of their air services commencing on September 1st. This expansion was catalyzed by the resumption of their Dubai to Beijing route back in March. Presently, Emirates operates two daily flights to Beijing, a clear indicator of the rejuvenation of passenger traffic, approaching pre-COVID levels.

Under the overarching theme of “Opening-up leads development, cooperation delivers the future,” the 2023 CIFTIS is an expansive event running from September 2nd to 6th. It boasts an array of more than 200 events encompassing forums, negotiations, and summits. Impressively, a total of 83 countries and international organizations have assembled at the fair, with over 2,400 companies actively participating in the offline exhibitions.

During a subforum focused on the development of trade in services, Vice Commerce Minister Wang Shouwen emphasized the pivotal role of service trade in the context of globalization. The advent of digital technologies has exponentially enhanced the tradability of services, unveiling colossal developmental opportunities within the sector.

Siddharth Chatterjee, the UN Resident Coordinator in China, echoed this sentiment during the same subforum. He lauded China as a staunch advocate of international cooperation and sustainable development while passionately rallying for an enhanced spirit of cooperation and collaboration among nations.

China’s service sector has exhibited remarkable resilience in recent times. In 2022, the nation’s total service imports and exports reached a staggering figure of nearly 6 trillion yuan (equivalent to approximately 836 billion U.S. dollars), marking a substantial 12.9 percent year-on-year increase—a record high. This remarkable feat solidified China’s position as the world’s second-largest contributor to service import and export value for an impressive ninth consecutive year.

Cheng Cheng, the sales director of the Beijing branch of Shanghai SinoDrink Trading Co., Ltd., shared insights from their vantage point within China’s burgeoning catering market. As a subsidiary of Leone Alato, a distinguished Italian winery group, SinoDrink Trading has orchestrated collaborations with prominent wine-producing regions in Italy. Over the years, they have successfully displayed and sold wine in China via cross-border e-commerce platforms and other avenues.

Cheng attested to the palpable resurgence in China’s catering sector since the start of the year, breathing life into their business operations and instilling a renewed sense of confidence in their growth prospects.

The dynamic platform that CIFTIS provides has proven invaluable for fostering direct interactions between Chinese and international companies. It has facilitated the exchange of knowledge, ideas, and comprehensive development projects. Gianpaolo Bruno, the Italian Trade Commissioner of the Italian Trade Agency (ITA) Beijing Office and Coordinator for China and Mongolia, expressed optimism regarding the future. He firmly believes that the collective efforts of both Italian and Chinese enterprises will bear fruit, strengthening their collaborative endeavors and deepening their cooperation.

What special giveaway attracted visitors to Etihad Airways’ booth at the 2023 CIFTIS?

Visitors were queuing up for free notebooks printed with Arabic architecture pictures.

Why did Emirates increase the frequency of its air services to China starting on September 1st?

Emirates expanded its services in response to the resumption of its Dubai to Beijing route in March and the recovery of passenger traffic to pre-COVID levels.

What was the theme of the 2023 CIFTIS, and how many countries and organizations participated in the event?

The theme was “Opening-up leads development, cooperation delivers the future.” A total of 83 countries and international organizations attended the fair.

What significant achievement did China’s service sector reach in 2022, and how did it rank globally?

In 2022, China’s total service imports and exports amounted to nearly 6 trillion yuan, up 12.9 percent year on year, making it the world’s second-largest contributor to service import and export value for nine consecutive years.

How has China’s consumption recovery in its catering sector impacted SinoDrink Trading’s business?

China’s consumption recovery in the catering sector has boosted SinoDrink Trading’s business growth and instilled confidence in their development.

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