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By Han Wei / Feb 14, 2019 01:02 AM / Economy

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

China's deficit in services trade expanded to a record 1.7 trillion yuan ($250 billion) in 2018 as Chinese people spent more on overseas trips, transportation and intellectual property rights.

China’s 2018 exports of services grew 14.6% year-on-year to 1.77 trillion yuan, the biggest annual expansion since 2011. Imports expanded 10% to 3.47 trillion yuan, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

Growing expenditures on travel abroad contributed the most to the widening of China’s service trade gap, accounting 81.4% of the deficit. Spending on transportation and intellectual property rights were also significant contributors. However, imports of traditional services such as construction have slowed, according to official data.

Guan Tao, a former director of the international payments department at China's State Administration of Foreign Exchange, said the figures signaled Chinese people’s expanding consumption needs and demand for higher-end services.

While China maintained a strong surplus in goods trade, the country’s services trade has long run a deficit. Guan said the widening of the services deficit reflects the need for China to adjust its economic structure and improve its services trade competitiveness.

Related: China’s Trade in Services Expands at 11%

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