China's economic authorities have set principled requests on having a more competitive service industry to meet the ever-growing demand of its consumers and improve the quality of the Chinese economy.
Under a guideline jointly released by the National Development and Reform Commission and the State Administration for Market Regulation, the service industry will keep expanding steadily by 2025, taking a larger share of China's gross domestic product (GDP) and continuing to create more jobs.
A frequently-used instrument by the economic authorities to establish a policy framework and assert principled requests on a certain industry, the guideline gives no quantitative targets to be met. Local governments are yet to make detailed plans in line with the requests of the central government to pursue better development.
According to the guideline, the primary principles for the service industry to secure high-quality development include staying people-oriented to optimise supply, staying market-oriented to foster leading brand-names, staying innovation-driven to prompt cross-sector integration, deepening reform and expanding opening-up.
In the next five years, China's service industry is expected to provide more standardised services on a larger scale and become more networked and more intelligent.
Companies engaging in productive services will see progress in their efficiency and become more specialised. Life-service companies, on the other hand, will be able to cover a broader range of new consumption demands of the public.
Modern services will be further integrated with the advanced manufacturing industry, and reform in the domain of public services will be deepened.
The guideline also stressed the need to standardise services in traditional spheres such as trade and tourism, community and estate management, health, old-age care, recreation, education and training, sports and fitness, and the need to establish standards and service certifications in emerging sectors including supply-chain management, energy conservation and environmental protection, intellectual property rights and information technology.
Supporting measures such as a better business environment, improved capital availability and a sounder statistical system were also necessary, it said, urging local governments to make detailed policies to give the service sector a boost.
A separate report from the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation under the Ministry of Commerce said China ranks 20th globally in the comprehensive development index of service trade and is the only developing country in the top 20.
By July 2019, the added value of China's service sector accounted for 54.9 per cent of the country's GDP and contributed 60.3 per cent to national economic growth, said Gu Xueming, head of the academy.
China's service trade totalled 3.57 trillion yuan (about 505 billion US dollars) in the first eight months of 2019, up 3.0 per cent year on year, MOC's data showed.