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Golden season for service industry

Zhong Nan and Wang Yu 30 SEP 2017 (China Daily) - China's service outsourcing business will see its golden season in the coming decade with more policy support and further upgrades to the nation's industrial portfolio, a senior commerce official said.

Further driving up the service outsourcing industry carries great significance to the country's ongoing supply-side reform and the segment will witness even stronger growth momentum in the next decade, especially for high-end outsourcing businesses, Wang Shouwen, vice-minister of commerce, told the China Sourcing Summit 2017 in Hangzhou on Friday.

The country's service industry has been contributing to more than half of the country's economic growth during the first half of 2017, reaching 51 percent of GDP. Outsourcing services-in which a company contracts part of its existing internal activity to another company-created 1.21 million new jobs in China last year, with a total of 8.6 million people employed in the sector.

"Driving up the service outsourcing industry is a national strategy. It is also part of China's efforts to attract more foreign direct investment. Relevant companies will enjoy more preferential taxation policies," Wang added.

The State Council, China's Cabinet, announced this year a slew of new measures to further boost trade in services, which include extending tax breaks to more leading service outsourcing cities, reducing restrictions on investment, and encouraging more overseas talent to work in China.

The total value of service outsourcing contracts signed by Chinese corporates in 2016 was 1.02 trillion yuan ($152.9 billion), up 20.1 percent year-on-year.

The structure of the industry, of course, has to be further fine-tuned and upgraded, similar to many other industries of China subject to supply-side reform, Wang added.

Combining digital technologies with service outsourcing business has become the next growth engine for the industry, and it is the right timing for relevant Chinese companies to undergo a digital-oriented transition, said Zhong Boming, president of Hangzhou Service and Trade Association.

Xie Shuangcheng, vice-mayor of Hangzhou, said the city aims to develop the most featured and high-end outsourcing business, with e-commerce, information and telecommunication sectors as priorities.

In fact, high-end service outsourcing businesses also mean a lot to multinational companies such as Haier, which spends nearly $500 million every year on quality outsourced information and designing services.

"In fact, we want to jointly explore business opportunities and make innovations with our outsourcing suppliers and global talents," Howard Yin, CIO and CDO of Haier Group, said at the summit meeting.

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