BEIJING, May 7 (Xinhua) -- China recorded a service trade deficit of 66.69 billion yuan (about 10.3 billion U.S. dollars) in the first quarter of this year, down 74.7 percent from the same period a year ago, data from the Ministry of Commerce showed Friday.
The country's total service trade volume reached around 1.16 trillion yuan in the January-March period, up 0.5 percent year on year, according to the ministry.
The lower deficit was the result of significant service export growth, which increased by 22.8 percent year on year in the reporting period. Meanwhile, service imports dropped by 13.5 percent from a year ago.
China's trade of knowledge-intensive services saw strong growth in the first quarter. It increased by 15.5 percent year on year in the period, accounting for 46.6 percent of the total trade in services.
The tourism services industry slumped significantly as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to impact the sector worldwide. In the first quarter, tourism service trade volumes slumped by 45.9 percent year on year.
Excluding the tourism sector, the country's service trade in the first three months expanded by 21.1 percent year on year.
In March alone, China's service trade rose 7.9 percent year on year, the first monthly growth since the COVID-19 outbreak, the data showed.
In contrast to goods trade, trade in services refers to the sale and delivery of intangible products such as transportation, tourism, telecommunications, construction, advertising, computing and accounting.