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Retail Sales of Hotel, Catering Sectors Up 18%
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China's retail sales in the hotel and catering sectors jumped 17.6 percent year-on-year in the first four months of 2007, the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) said on Wednesday.

Retail sales in these sectors rose to 388.01 billion yuan (US$50.7 billion) in the first four months, accounting for 13.9 percent of total retail sales in China in this period, a MOFCOM report said.

Sales increases in the hotel and catering sector contributed to 15.9 percent of the total retail sales growth over the past four months, the ministry stated.

Analysts said the high sales growth came as higher incomes in the world's fastest-growing major economy prompted more people to travel and eat at restaurants.

The average disposable income of urban Chinese rose 19.5 percent to 3,935 yuan in the first quarter, while the cash income of rural population jumped 15.2 percent to 1,260 yuan, the highest increase in a decade, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

The Ministry of Commerce also said the number of newly-approved foreign-funded hotels and catering projects in the first four months of this year dropped 26 percent year-on-year to 248.

It added the contracted foreign investments dropped 28.2 percent year-on-year to US$650 million, while the actually used foreign funds climbed 5.6 percent to US$240 million.

(Xinhua News Agency May 24, 2007)

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