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The Service Sector in China

In 2005 the services sector produced 40.3 percent of China’s gross domestic product.

Prior to the onset of economic reforms in 1978, China’s services sector was characterized by state-operated shops, rationing, and regulated prices.

With reform came private markets and individual entrepreneurs and a comparatively free-wheeling commercial sector. Urban areas now are filled with shopping malls and dotted with Western-style retail shops and fast-food chains. An array of Western-style fast-food chains, trendy restaurants, night clubs, and consumer shops of all kinds operate within close proximity to Mao Zedong’s mausoleum in Beijing.

Other east coast cities have followed suit, and several cities in the interior are not far behind.

If anything, as the Economist Intelligence Unit points out, the retail sector “suffers from oversupply.” Joint-venture hotels also abound in China’s major cities.

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