According to a State Development Planning Commission (SDPC) document entitled Report on China's National Economic Growth and Social Development for the Year 2000, China's fast growing service sector has become the country's key employer. Preliminary statistics indicate that the service sector created 5.71 million new jobs in 1999, making up 70 percent of China's total new employment in the year. The service sector employed the majority of the country's urban new labor force and at the same time rehired the redundant labor force from the other 2 sectors. The SDPC data show that employment in the service industry by the end of 1999 rose 0.6 percent from 1998 to 192.5 million people, accounting for 27.3 percent of the total national workforce.
The service industry has become a major factor in boosting national economic growth. The key growth areas for the service industry in recent years include community services, domestic tourism, higher and non-compulsory education, information, culture and other intermediary services. In the first 4 years of China's 9th 5-Year Plan (1996 to 2000), the average contribution of the service industry to the GDP was 40.8 percent, a 10.4 percentage point increase over the 8th 5-Year Plan (1990-95). The state aimed at encouraging more involvement by the private sector in the development of the service industry by channeling more private investment into the industry.