A jewelry shop at Beijing Capital International Airport. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Zhanyanguange

China’s service industry, a sector hit hard by the Covid-19 epidemic, is gradually getting back on track as the country steps up efforts to balance epidemic control with economic and social development.

The production index of the service sector climbed 1% year on year in May, marking the first year-on-year increase this year and rebounding from a decline of 4.5% in April, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

The sub-reading for information transmission, software and information technology services expanded by 12.9% last month, while that for the financial sector and the real estate sector grew 5.2% and 7.1% respectively, NBS data showed.

Meanwhile, wholesale and retail sales, hospitality and catering and leasing and business services also improved in May, with their sub-index declines narrowing 4.5 percentage points, 12 percentage points and 4.1 percentage points, respectively.

The service sector production index went down 7.7% year on year during the first five months, with the decline narrowing by 2.2 percentage points compared to the January-April period. With the continuous resumption of production and living orders, the service industry is expected to see further recovery, said NBS spokesperson Fu Linghui.

Special government bonds

China will issue the third batch of special government bonds for Covid-19 control amid efforts to balance epidemic control with economic and social development, said the Ministry of Finance.

The 10-year fixed-rate bonds, worth 70 billion yuan (US$9.89 billion), will be available for tenders on June 23 and become tradable on June 30, according to a statement on the ministry’s website.

On Monday, the ministry announced the issuance of the first two batches of special government bonds, including 50 billion yuan of five-year bonds and 50 billion yuan of seven-year bonds. Both will be listed and traded on June 23, 2020.

China will pursue a more proactive and impactful fiscal policy, setting its fiscal deficit above 3.6% of GDP and issuing 1 trillion yuan of government bonds for Covid-19 control this year to release more funds for companies and individuals.

Aircraft conversion production line

A new aircraft conversion production line started operations in Guangzhou in south China’s Guangdong Province on Tuesday, according to Boeing China.

The production line, jointly run by Boeing and Guangzhou Aircraft Maintenance Engineering Company Limited (GAMECO), will be dedicated to the 737-800 Boeing Converted Freighter (BCF) project.

The two companies will contribute their expertise in converting used 737 passenger planes to freighters, with the aim of extending their service life and better meeting market demands.

The air cargo sector has seen increasing demand during the Covid-19 pandemic period. It plays a critical role in the transport of vital supplies and sustaining global supply chains.

Affected by the pandemic, some airlines are reshaping their fleet structure to meet changes in the market, and the converted freighters could provide them with more cost-effective options.

Boeing has put its 737-800 BCF project into operation exclusively in China, with a total of six production lines. To date, the 737-800 BCF project has received 130 orders and commitments worldwide.

Wearable chip

Chinese technology company Huami has unveiled its new generation of wearable chip, the Huangshan 2. The new wearable chip has high operational efficiency and low energy consumption. It can recognize the heart problem of atrial fibrillation seven times faster than the company’s previous chips.

The Huangshan 2 chip will be put into mass production in the fourth quarter of 2020. New wearable products carrying the Huangshan 2 chip will be available in the first half of 2021. The chip was launched at an artificial intelligence innovation conference in Hefei in east China’s Anhui Province on Monday.

During the conference, Huami also introduced its newly developed bio-tracking optical sensor which can record heart rate, blood oxygen and sleep data with high accuracy.

The story was written by Xu Jiangshan and Liu Licong and first published at ATimesCN.com. It was translated by Nadeem Xu.

Xu Yuenai is a Beijing-based columnist specializing in international relations.