The service trade in East China's Zhejiang province involving imports and exports achieved a record high in 2020 with a total value of 400 billion yuan ($61.05 billion), local media reported on April 13.
Zhejiang's service trade balance shifted from deficit to surplus last year with exports totaling 241.1 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 28.07 percent.
In the first two months of this year, the import and export of services in the province amounted to 63.64 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 29.22 percent.
"Outbound tourism and overseas studies have been important parts of the service trade in Zhejiang for a long time," said Zhang Qianjiang, deputy director of the Department of Commerce of Zhejiang Province, "However, they both experienced sharp declines during the pandemic last year."
The knowledge-intensive industry played a significant role in boosting Zhejiang's service trade in 2020, when the industry's foreign trade reached 287.63 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 21.95 percent and making up 67.13 percent of all service imports and exports.
Although traditional service trade suffered a lot from the pandemic last year, the emerging digital service trade promoted the transformation of Zhejiang's service trade, especially in cross-border e-commerce, online education, and telemedicine.
"2021 is a crucial year for the overseas expansion of Zhejiang's service trade," said Lu Jing, deputy dean of the Department of International Economics and Trade of Zhejiang University.
Lu noted that the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, a free trade agreement between 15 Asia-Pacific nations, will be implemented this year, meaning cooperation in East Asia will improve and a number of construction service companies will tap Southeast Asian markets.