China’s catering industry saw its income increase to 1.39 trillion yuan (US$207.46 billion) between January and April, up 9.3% year on year, according to data from China Cuisine Association.

In comparison, China’s total retail sales climbed 8% from a year ago in the first four months. China’s catering industry income accounted for 10.8 percent of the country’s total retail sales during the four-month period, cementing its role as a key driver for China’s consumer market, it said.

In April, China’s catering industry saw its revenues increase to 328.1 billion yuan, up 8.5% year on year. The growth rate was 1.1 percentage points lower than that in April 2018.

CCA noted that the catering industry will grow steadily over the rest of the year, and continue to play an active role in promoting the healthy development of China’s economy.

Booming online sales and cold-chain logistics technology have provided new growth drivers for the catering companies, the association added. A cold chain or cool chain is a temperature-controlled supply chain.