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Chinese diners spend 800 billion yuan annually
Updated: 2005-10-25 08:53

Chinese people annually spend 800 billion yuan (US$98.6 billion) at resturants, or 900 times the cost of China's second manned space mission that was accomplished in mid October, according to sources at a national chef's festival held in Wuhan recently.

Along with rapid economic growth and the improvement of living standards, eating out has become common in recent years on the Chinese mainland, boosting the development of China's catering sector.

Last year, the sector's retail sales exceeded the 700-billion-yuan (US$86.3 billion) level for the first time to reach 748.6 billion yuan (US$92.3 billion), a year-on-year increase of 133 billion yuan (US$16.4 billion), or 21.56 percent.

In the first eight months, retail sales rose to 81.08 billion yuan (US$9.9 billion), or 17.6 percent, over the year-earlier level, to 541.7 billion yuan (US$66.8 billion).

If the sector maintains its pep, the figure will likely reach 880.35 billion yuan (US$108.6 billion) at the end of this year, top one trillion yuan (US$123.3 billion) in 2006 and even double to two trillion yuan (US$246.6 billion) in five years, the sources predicted.

Last year China's catering sector had more than four million resturants and other outlets, 34 times the 1978 level, and a workforce of 18 million people, 16 times the level 27 years ago.

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