China's foreign service trade reached 149.54 billion U.S. dollars in the first quarter, up 10.6 percent from the same period last year, the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) said on Friday.
In contrast, merchandise trade dropped 6.3 percent year on year in the first quarter, said MOC spokesperson Shen Danyang at a press conference.
For the first three months, the aggregate foreign service trade deficit totaled 39.66 billion U.S. dollars, with 54.94 billion U.S. dollars in revenues, up 10.5 percent year on year, and 94.6 billion U.S. dollars in spending, an increase of 10.6 percent year on year.
China's aggregate service trade deficit in 2014 totaled 1.216 trillion yuan (199.07 billion U.S. dollars). China started issuing monthly data on services trade in January 2014 to improve the transparency of balance of payments statistics.
Distinct from merchandise trade, trade in services refers to the sale and delivery of intangible products such as transportation, tourism, telecommunications, construction, advertising, computing and accountancy.
In the first quarter, foreign trade service in tourism reached 49.31 billion U.S. dollars, accounting for 33 percent and the largest share of total trade volume in services.
Meanwhile, the Yangtze River economic belt region, which is comprised of Shanghai and Chongqing municipalities as well as nine provinces including Zhejiang and Jiangsu, witnessed better-than-average growth of 13.6 percent in foreign service trade.
Foreign service trade in the region totaled 61.4 billion U.S. dollars in the first quarter, accounting for 41.1 percent of the national total, with Shanghai taking the lead.
In 2014, China's e-commerce transactions grew 28.64 percent year on year, far outpacing the year's economic growth rate of 7.4 percent. A total of 895.69 billion yuan in transactions was made via mobile terminals.
Chinese users of WeChat, a popular social messaging app, have increased 41 percent year on year in 2014 to 500 million in total.
Shen said China's exports to African countries reached 25.24 billion U.S. dollars in the first three months, jumping 21.8 percent year on year, driven mainly by exports of mechanical and technological products.
China has offered a total of 140 million yuan in emergency humanitarian aid to Nepal following recent earthquakes, said Shen.
A massive 7.5-magnitude aftershock jolted Nepal on Tuesday following a powerful 8.1-magnitude temblor on April 25, which left more than 8,000 people dead.
During the past six decades, China has launched over 110 projects in assistance to Nepal, including hospitals, technical schools and research centers, according to Shen.
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