pressures, it is actually a need for China’s economic development, at the current stage, to further open up markets. Thus, the c
ountry’s accelerated opening-up is not only the response to the external risks, but also a key step in transforming pressures into new growth momentum.
So far, the openness of China’s manufacturing sector is relatively high, especially compared to the degree of ope
nness in the service industry, with foreign ownership limits and license restrictions set in such sectors like m
edical care, education, express delivery and others. Since the overall manufacturing sector is now basically opening up,
there is a high possibility that China will expand the opening of the service industry in the near future. Specifically, finance, medical care, education
and elderly care are all potential sectors that could see greater market access, as the current Chinese society is also in need of these services.
In other words, China has already got the basic conditions for further opening up of its service industry. With the country’s
per capita GDP exceeding $9,000, the proportion of residents’ basic living consumption has declined, while the co
nsumption demand for information, culture, medical care, education, elderly care, entertainment and other services has increased.
Some observers, however, have been concerned about the impact of increased opening-up on the domestic services industry. It is
undeniable that such an impact is inevitable, but it should be viewed as the pressure to stimulate the innovation and
According to the latest data released by the State Administration of Foreign Exchange, China’s tourism trade deficit reached $237.4 billion in 2018, an increase of $21.4 billion over the prev
ious year. While the record high figure reflects the growing scale of outbound tourism consumption by domestic residents, it remains qu
estionable whether the domestic demand is so strong that it even caused the record outbound tourism consumption.
However, by analyzing relevant reports and statistics, I believe some of the figures about China’s tourism industry may
be dodgy, which could therefore be misleading for investment decision-making and should be clarified.
According to the preliminary statistics of the China Tourism Academy, Chinese travelers made 140 million outbound trips in 2018, up 1
1 million from 129 million in 2017. To a certain extent, the steady increase in the number of Chinese o
utbound trips indicates that the consumption is still growing and not falling.
But the important question is how many people actually traveled abroad
out of the 140 million outbound trips. According to the Annual Report of China Outbound Tou
rism Development 2018, Chinese trips to foreign countries and regions accounted for about 33.3 percent of total out
bound trips in 2017. Assuming that the ratio remained unchanged in 2018, then the number of trips to foreign c
ountries and regions came to about 46.67 million. Again assuming that half of the people who went abroad on av
erage twice last year, then the number of Chinese who went to foreign countries and regions was approximately 31 million.