Opening up of service sector vital to China, world

Panelists discuss the opening up of the service sector at the Boao Forum for Asia in Boao, South China's Hainan province, on March 27, 2019. [Photo by Chen Liubing/]

The opening up of China's service sector will accelerate the country's high-quality development, and provide more opportunities to the world market, said government official, expert, and entrepreneurs at the ongoing Boao Forum for Asia on Wednesday.

The opening up of the service sector may further improve the country's economic structure and create more job opportunities, said Yin Yong, vice mayor of Beijing, who stressed that China's service industry only took up 52 percent of its GDP last year, far less than the 70 percent world average and the 75 percent in developed countries.

"Forty-five percent of Chinese employees work at the service sector, while that in the developed countries is 70 percent," the vice-mayor said, adding that China's trade deficit in the service sector amounted to $265 billion last year. "Further opening up of the service sector is also conductive to fulfilling our commitments to the WTO," Yin added.

The mayor said that Beijing, the only service sector opening up pilot city nationwide, is making every effort to assist service enterprises settling in the city. The enterprise registration period was shortened from 23 days in 2017 to 3 days this year, with the whole process digitized. Beijing's experiences are open to the whole country, Yin added.

Li Yang, a member of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, suggested that regulation-making, improvement of the business environment, and supervision are critical issues in further opening up the sector.

"Unlike other sectors, the service sector is intangible, thus may bring unprecedented challenges to supervision," Li said.

Executives from home and abroad are positive about China's further opening up in the service sector and expect more opportunities, as Richard Zhang, equity partner and head of Great China, Apax Partners, said the company is delighted at seeing China's further opening up in the service sector.

He suggested China accelerate the pace of the move, as competition between capital inbound and outbound may promote the upgrading of the service sector. "Predictable and transparent supervision is welcomed," he added.

Fifty percent of world trade is in services, and the opening up of China's service sector brings major opportunities to the world, said David Cruickshank, global chairman of Deloitte, adding that "Competition makes existing enterprises stronger."

"We need good partners and advisors here and we'd like to have partnerships with private and public companies," said Oliver Bate, CEO of Allianz SE, adding that his company prefers clear and consistent guidance from the government.

According to Fred Hu, chairman of Primavera Capital Group, China's service industry is facing a golden opportunity for development in the next 10 to 20 years. Hu suggested the government loosen restrictions and allow more private capital to enter the market and provide good service to the Chinese people. "Fair competition will boost the efficiency and vitality of China's service sector," he added.

This article is reprinted from China Daily.

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