BEIJING, Nov. 4 (Xinhua) -- China's service trade totaled 4.02 trillion yuan (about 571 billion U.S. dollars) in the first three quarters of this year, up 3 percent year on year, the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) said Monday.
Service exports increased by 9.4 percent year on year to 1.42 trillion yuan, while imports came in at 2.6 trillion yuan, down 0.2 percent from a year ago, said the MOC.
The service trade deficit went down 9.8 percent to 1.18 trillion yuan in the period.
The MOC data also showed China's trade of knowledge-intensive services maintained rapid expansion, increasing by 11 percent year on year to 1.37 trillion yuan.
Exports of knowledge-intensive services grew by 13.7 percent to 717.72 billion yuan, while imports grew by 8.2 percent to 652.5 billion yuan.
In contrast to merchandise trade, trade in services refers to the sale and delivery of intangible products such as transportation, tourism, telecommunications, construction, advertising, computing and accounting.
China has taken steps to improve the development of trade in services, including gradually opening up the finance, education, culture and medical treatment sectors.