Global Service Trade Fair in China Eyes Digital Future
Exhibition area of the 2021 China International Fair for Trade in Services at Shougang Park in Beijing.（PHOTO:XINHUA）
By TANG Zhexiao
The 2021 China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS), a world-renowned event, was held in Beijing from September 2 to 7.
As the largest comprehensive exhibition in global trade in services, it provides a first-class platform for international exhibitors to exchange ideas, dock business and share opportunities to achieve common development.
The six-day event used a "two venue" setting, which means one part is held at the National Convention Center and the other at the Shougang Park.
According to the organizers, this year's event has attracted more than 10,000 enterprises from 153 countries and regions, up 45 percent from last year. Among them, 2,400 firms have showcased their products and services offline. Up to 18 percent of offline exhibitors are Fortune 500 companies and leading enterprises, up 9 percentage points from last year.
With the theme of Towards Digital Future and Service Driven Development, the CIFTIS 2021 features a special section for digital services for the first time.
In 2020, China's digitally deliverable trade in services stood at 294.76 billion USD, up 8.4 percent year-on-year and accounting for 44.5 percent of the total service trade, official data showed.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the digitalization of trade in services, thus providing opportunities for structural adjustment and the development of new service trade businesses," said Wang Bingnan, China's vice-minister of commerce.
Apart from highlighting digital technologies, the trade fair also eyes cooperation and opening up. China has been the world's second largest country in terms of service trade for years. During the 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-2020), China's service import and export totaled 3.6 trillion USD, posting an increase of 29.7 percent over the 12th Five-Year Plan period.
"More win-win cooperation has been seen and a new wave of high-level opening-up is surging," said Zhuang Rui, professor at the University of International Business and Economics.
The 2021 CIFTIS also includes exhibitions on new topics such as healthcare services, business services, engineering consultancy and construction services. Five summit forums, as well as 119 thematic forums and conferences were held on the sidelines.