2012-05-25 (China Daily) - Since the first China Trade in Service Congress in 2007, the services trade has grown into one of the major engines of change in the economy, said senior officials in Beijing, commenting on the upcoming China Beijing International Fair for Trade in Services, scheduled for May 28.
The event, also known as Beijing Fair, is expected to become "an integrated trading platform that combines forums, exhibitions, trade and related policies", Beijing Mayor Guo Jinlong said.
Organizers said a total of 20,069 businesspeople from 58 countries and regions have registered to join the event. They include delegates from 67 Fortune 500 companies.
"The Beijing Fair will play an active role in shifting the economic development model of China, and especially in Beijing," Guo said.
"So the preparations are in full swing, and the whole city is in high gear to unveil the event," he said.
Minister of Commerce Chen Deming also emphasized: "Beijing has taken the lead in the services trade sector, which boasts ample opportunities for China."
Based on the experience of the China Trade in Service Congress in the past years, the Beijing Fair is set to become a high-profile service trade gala in China, Chen said.
"The growing market, strong purchasing power, increased import and export volume, and wide openness of Beijing have provided a basis for the fair," said Lu Yan, director of the Beijing Municipal Commission of Commerce.
Last year, the service industry of Beijing generated 1.2 trillion yuan ($189.6 billion) in added value, accounting for 75.7 percent of the city's GDP. This percentage ranked highest among all cities on the Chinese mainland.
The city had a purchasing power of 690 billion yuan last year, leading the nation's cities for four consecutive years.
In 2011, the import and export volume of Beijing reached $380 billion, accounting for more than 10 percent of the nation's total. And at the same time, the city attracted more than $7 billion in overseas investment, a record high.
The import and export volume of China increased from $191.7 billion in 2006 to $362.4 billion in 2010, with an average annual growth of 17.3 percent.
Home to offices of more than 40 Fortune 500 companies, Beijing is the world's second largest cluster of headquarters of major companies.
He added that the fair can be regarded as "a milestone marking that the nation's openness to the outside world has reached a more advanced stage".