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China to boost home service industry amid economic restructuring

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JINAN, Oct. 19 (Xinhua) -- An official with China's human resources ministry called for speeding up the development of the home service industry on Wednesday in an effort to shift the nation's economic structure into one more reliant on the service industry.

Yang Zhiming, vice minister of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, made the remarks at a meeting on the development of the home service industry in Jinan, capital city of east China's Shandong Province.

Yang said that employees in the service sector now account for 32.4 percent of the country's total workforce, a percentage lower than that of developed economies, and the home service industry, with an annual 160 billion yuan (25 billion U.S.dollars) turnover, is also relatively weak.

Boosting the home service industry is a "necessary approach to promote economic restructuring and transform the pattern of economic growth so that the service industry can become a pillar industry," said Yang.

According to China's current development blueprint, the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015), the annual turnover of the home service industry is expected to climb to 300 billion yuan over the next five years.

The number of people employed in the home service sector, which includes babysitters, house cleaners and in-room cooks, will rise to 20 million over the next five years. The industry currently employs some 15 million people, most of whom are migrants who have left their rural hometowns to find jobs in the country's cities.

To facilitate the growth of the home service industry, the Ministry of Finance and the State Administration of Taxation have recently introduced tax incentives, exempting home service companies that hire their employees in strict accordance with the Labor Contract Law from paying business taxes over the next three years starting October 1.

Additionally, more than 300 home service information platforms will be built across the country.

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