Services are growing rapidly. The value-added of th

 tertiary sector, which is mainly services, grew from 56.7 to 57.3 percent of GDP from the same period last year. The

Index of Services Production increased 7.4 percent year-on-year, higher than the growth rate of overall GDP.

Overall retail sales of consumer goods also grew at 8.3 percent. Sales of upgraded consumer goods witnessed fast gro

wth, with the highest rates concentrated in upgraded products such as cosmetics, phones and computers.

And, high-tech services grew at an astonishing rate of 21.2 percent. In prepa

ring for consumer 5G telecoms next year, the output of mobile communications base stations grew 153.7 percent.

The data also show strong movement toward the government’s goal

of creating an ecological civilization. New energy automobiles and solar cells grew by 48.2 percen

t and 18.2 percent, respectively. Sales of urban rail vehicles grew by 54.1 percent, showing the

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The annual report estimates that total electricity cons

umption in 2019 is expected to grow 5.8 percent. Demand for coal is expected to hit 3.95 billion

tons, with the power sector still playing a significant role in the consumption of coal.

Consumption of oil is predicted to reach 620 million tons, up 1.6 percent year-on-year, while

the growth rate for natural gas consumption is expected to slow, with an annual consumption of 310 billi

on cubic meters in 2019, up 10.4 percent year-on-year, it said.The 2019 Beijing International Horticultural Ex

hibition (Expo 2019 Beijing) opens to visitors Monday, and will showcase a wide variety of flowers, fruits, vegetables and

herbs from across the world, including more than 300 rare and endangered plant species.

Nearly 20,000 volunteers across media, translation and giving directio

ns will work at the 162-day event, running April 29 – Oct 7. Click to watch their greetings in s

even languages: Chinese, English, Russian, French, German, Spanish and Japanese.

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Pledges at forum draw overseas experts’ praise

The international community has hailed President Xi Jinping’s call on Friday to ease market

access for foreign capital and increase imports so that opening-up reaches a higher level.

Xi said in his keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the S

econd Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing that the purpose of buil

ding the Belt and Road is to achieve win-win cooperation and common development.

China will increase its imports of goods and services and will further lower its tariff rates, Xi said.

Francis Chua, chairman emeritus of the Philippine Chamber of Commer

ce and Industry, noted Xi’s emphasis on quality imports and state-of-the-art products.

“China will keep its commitments,” said Chua, who was attending the forum as a member of the Philippine business delegation.

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Jon Taylor, a professor of political science at the Uni

versity of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas, in the United States, said Xi

wants to convey a specific message: that China sees the BRI as a method by which it can make

a substantial and permanent contribution to lasting peace, common security and global prosperity.

“While some Westerners may scoff at the impact they think the BRI m

ay have on these issues, Xi genuinely sees the BRI as a global development project and will cont

inue to wholeheartedly put China’s money, resources and energies into this project,” he said.

Chen Weihua in Brussels, Bo Leung in London, Zhao Huanxin in Washington, Edith Muteth

ya in Nairobi and Chen Yingqun in Beijing contributed to this story.The profits of China’s major indu

strial firms surged by 13.9 percent in March, a drastic rebound compared to the 14-percent decline in January-Febru

ary period, official data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed Saturday.

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Liu also announced that a multilateral development

financing cooperation center has recently been established — jointly with eight multilateral develo

pment institutions including the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and Asian Infrastructure In

vestment Bank — to prepare for “high-quality” projects and promote international standards for BRI financing.

Chinese financial institutions have provided more than $440 billion for BRI infrastructure projects. Renminbi-denom

inated overseas investment funds amounted to over 320 billion yuan ($47.49 billion) and the Chinese capital mark

et has helped companies raise 500 billion yuan through equity funding. BRI countries and companies have issued mor

e than 65 billion yuan in Panda bonds in the Chinese onshore market, according to the central bank.

The World Bank said BRI cooperation is predicted to reduce global trade costs by 1.1 percent to 2.2 percent in 2019.

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The death toll of the multiple explosions which ripp

 through Sri Lanka on Sunday has risen to 359, according to a police report released

on Wednesday. While mourning alongside Sri Lankans, the world community needs to shore up greater reso

lve and build a broader consensus to counter extremism and terrorism worldwide.

The terrorist attacks in various locations in the South Asian country o

n the same day must have required a lot of planning, and i

t is believed they were the result of collaboration between domestic and overseas extremists.

This series of terrorist attacks follows the attacks on two mosques in Christc

hurch, New Zealand, and both tragedies should not only sound the alarm but also rally the

international community to eliminate the terrorist and extremist elements in civil societies.

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The two countries should take the opportunity to join

intly build the Belt and Road, deepen mutual political trust and pragmatic cooperation and pr

omote the development of the China-Chile comprehensive strategic partnership to a higher level, Xi said.

The two countries should promote the upgrading of bilateral tra

de and investment and enhance cooperation in such areas as minerals, clean energy, infor

mation technology, e-commerce, innovation and scientific research on the Antarctic, he said.

Xi called on the two countries to make joint efforts to celebrate the 50th anni

versary of China-Chile diplomatic ties next year and promote people-to-people exchanges.

China supports Chile’s hosting of the United Nations climate change confere

nce and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation economic leaders’ meeting this year, Xi said.

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Fixed-asset investment growth was 6.3 percent in the first

 quarter, compared with 6.1 percent in the first two months, the National Bureau of Statistics reported.

As favorable policies are implemented at all levels of government in the sec

ond quarter, manufacturers will start seeing concrete financial benefits and industrial out

put is expected to at least maintain a steady expansion from April to June, said Qin H

ailin, a senior industrial economy researcher at the China Center for Information Industry Development.

At the news conference, ministry officials also denied market rumors that China’s telecom carrie

rs are slowing down their investments in 5G, the fifth-generation mobile communication technology.

They said 5G is recognized as a fundamental digital infrastructu

re for societal and economic development, but it will take time to build a nationwide 5G netw

ork. China’s plan is to roll out the superfast technology step by step, the officials said.

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Facts and figures: Belt and Road Initiativetive, proposed

The Belt and Road Initiative, proposed by China in 2013, aims at building a

trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the an

cient trade routes of the Silk Road to seek common development and prosperity.

Let’s take a look at some key figures about the initiative.

A new remake of Peking Opera classic Farewell My C

oncubine is expected to premiere for opera lovers in Beijing in late May.

A representative opera piece of the late Chinese theater

mogul Mei Lanfang, Farewell My Concubine tells a love

story based on the legend of Xiang Yu – the warlord of the ancient Chu Kingdom – an

d his beloved consort Yu. Xiang lost a battle for the throne, and Yu committed suicide with his sword.

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China will improve the market environment for c

 car sales and expand the supply of automobiles as part of its latest efforts to boost auto consum

ption, Gao Feng, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Commerce, said at a press conference early this month.

By the end of 2018, China’s six cities namely Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Hangzhou and Tianijin carried

out the purchase restriction of fuel-powered passenger cars, said Shao Jiang, an analyst at Everbright Securities. “If thes

e cities double their rising number of new cars, it could bring a 2.8 percent year-on-year growth for the wh

ole passenger car market.”Editor’s Note: The eight explosions in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday have claimed more tha

n 300 lives and left over 500 people injured. A ninth explosion was reported on Monday near a church in Colombo, but n

one was reported killed or injured. The Islamic State reportedly claimed responsibility for the bombings on Tue

sday. Two experts share their views on the attacks with China Daily’s Liu Jianna. Excerpts follow

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